Tanjila and her husband are now on a new road

9 Jun 2016   |   Blog   |   Long-term Development   |   Bangladesh

Tags:  Bangladesh   |   No comments

Tanjila Begum and her husband Shahidul Islam live in Mahmudpur Village in the Satkhira district of Bangladesh. Tanjila works as a housewife while her husband is an agricultural day labourer. They have two daughters, Tania (24) and Sonia (18), both of whom were forced to leave school early. They also support Tanjila's father and mother-in-law who live with them at present. Tanjila would often work in neighbouring houses to supplement her husband's income.

This changed in December 2013 when Tanjila was selected  to take part in the Sustainable Food and Livelihood Security (SuFoL) Project in her village. Tanjila received training in 'Homestead based integrated vegetable cultivation and poultry rearing'. She learned how to raise and prepare garden beds, prepare compost and preserve seeds. She also learnt of the importance of using organic fertilizer and pesticides to improve crop production.

Empowered with her new knowledge and skills, Tanjila purchased five ducks and five hens with a BDT 500 (A$8.50) grant. Three ducks have already started to lay eggs and she earns BDT 20 (A$0.35) everyday from the sale of eggs. Tanjila is expecting that she will be able to earn even more from poultry in two months’ time.

Illias with his wife

Tanjila has also developed a small vegetable garden at her homesteadand has become known as an expert in homestead-based vegetable cultivation! Her neighbours frequently come to her for suggestions and advice. Four other families in her village have already started to produce organic vegetables following her advice.

In February 2014, Tanjila also received a Rickshaw-Van, which her husband uses to provide transport for others in the community. This helps them earn between BDT 200-250 (A$3.50-A$4.30) every day.

These activities have enabled Tanjila and her husband to increase their household income significantly, even allowing them to save for the futureNow they can easily manage three decent meals every day and Tanjila  no longer needs to go to other people's houses for work.

She dreams of being able to continue her development by one day  buying a small piece of land to extend their homestead and develop a small poultry farm, a cow-shed and a piece of land for vegetable cultivation.

Tanjila said, “Technical as well as financial support provided by Caritas’ SuFoL project helped change the socio-economic condition and livelihood options of many people like me. We are grateful to Caritas for these good initiatives.”

Since being selected for the SuFoL project, Tanjila participates in community meetings regularly and has gained the courage to speak out about issues. She is able to motivate people about alternative livelihoods and women's dignity.

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