Social scheme changes Monowara’s life

Publish: 10:38 AM, June 23, 2018 | Update: 10:38:AM, June 23, 2018

FARIDPUR  – Recalling the plights once her seven- member family faced, Monowara Begum burst into tears as her day-labour husband could not bear family expenses after he fell sick and lost work.

“We had to undergo untold sufferings to manage food for our five children and bear the treatment cost of my sick husband,” Monowara, 50, of East
Bhashanchar village in Faridpur sadar said, adding that couple of years ago the extreme poverty started shattering her dream of living and educating her children.

But, she said, the state-run Ekti Bari Ekti Khamar (EBEK) project lit a light of hope showing her the paths of survival with her children and sick
husband. In 2013, Monowara became a member of Purbo Bhashanchar Gram Unnayan Dal, a village association formed under the EBEK project. Since this, she started changing their life leaving all the miseries behind.

Monowara kept Taka 200 as deposit in the association (samity) formed with 60 people. And after a year, she took Taka 10,000 loan for the first time
from the association and brought two goats and started rearing them. Next year, she bought a cow at Taka 40,000 selling the goats and borrowing, for
the second time, Taka 20,000.

In the meantime, she learned how to grow seasonal vegetables, raise poultry, cultivate fishes and plant napier grass after attending the monthly
meetings of the association.

With all her efforts, Monowara engaged herself in fish and vegetable farming and planting napier grass in her barren land and pond in front of her
house, which helped increase her family income steadily.

Pleased with the efforts of Monowara, the association sanctioned another loan of Taka 40,000 to her. Utilising the money, she improved her family
condition by buying and selling cows and goats, hens and ducks gradually and repaid the borrowed money in time.

Now, housewife Monowara is a successful woman as she can earn additional Taka 2 lakh per year, thanks to Ekti Bari Ekti Khamar (EBEK) project.

“I am very glad to earn the money…couple of years ago it was frustration all around me when my husband lost work. I and my family members were passing days with scanty food for our two meals a day. But, now I have no worry,” Monowara said while serving napier grass to her cows on her yard.

Monowara has two daughters – one daughter is now a primary school teacher and other is studying at the university level. Her one son is studying in
Agriculture Diploma and two sons are doing jobs and contributing to their family.

“It is my pleasure that my husband and I have been able to give financial support to all our five children for higher education and they are doing
well,” she said. EBEK field worker Momota Rani Biswas said Monowara is a successful beneficiary of the samity as she changed her life by hard labour and proper utilisation of the borrowed money.

Like Monowara, thousands of people have revolutionised their lifestyle with the blessings of this project in Faridpur district. Md Nazmul Hossain, project coordinator of Sadar Upazila, said the poor people who have land below 50 decimal can become the member of the samity.

“Each of the samities consists of 60 members, including 40 females and 20 males. The samity members deposit Taka 200 per month each for building their own fund while the government provides them equal incentive as bonus against their savings.

“The main objective of the project is to alleviate poverty by creating permanent fund and generating employment through small savings,” he said.

Tajul Islam, deputy director of Bangladesh Rural Development Board (BRDB), said EBEK is one of the 10 initiatives launched by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in 2009 with a view to alleviating poverty by engaging poor people in income generating activities.

The EBEK project is being implemented in nine upazilas of Faridpur – Sadar, Charvodrason, Sadarpur, Alfadanga, Boalmari, Bhanga, Nagarkada, Saltha and Modhukhali. A total of 61,966 members are involved in 1,329 samities in Faridpur.