Never Too Old to Battle Poverty

Hamida with her two grandsons.

In developing countries like Bangladesh, personal income for rural women is an essential precondition to enhancing household income, which improves access to basic necessities.

Hamida Khatun was a typical Bangladeshi woman and mother in the small village of Char Borobila. But being a woman in that community was a curse for her to strive against poverty.

A long time ago, she lost her husband, an event that pushed her into an ocean of tears. As a widow–moreover, as a woman–she was not entitled to go out of her house to seeking employment. In Char Borobila it seemed a disgrace for a woman, especially a widow, to go out for work. Besides, she did not have the skills or knowledge to earn a decent wage.

Her son Shofiqul was the only income source but he could not keep the family afloat. Shofiqul is married with two sons of his own, Nayem is 12 and Emon is 8. He’s a labourer working in others’ fields on day-to-day basis and his income is very low. So he finds it difficult to feed his family of two children and three adults. As a result, Hamida’s grandchildren’s education suffered since he could not afford their educational expenses. Sometimes, the family was starving from hunger. Most of the time they ate only once, maybe twice a day (very seldom).

As a grandmother Hamida could not bear it when she experienced with her own eyes that her grandchildren are starving from hungry.  

So, five years ago, when she had the opportunity to join a FH Savings and Loans group she took it. Hamida became a member of the Udoyon (“Rising”) Women’s savings group with a dream to increase her savings and to gain the necessary training and skills so that in the future she can contribute something to her family and meet her grandchildren’s basic needs.
After joining Udoyon, Hamida received basic literacy, health, values, and leadership training. FH also provided her IGA training on small business initiatives. In this old age, Hamida was very enthusiastic to learn and secure her future not only for herself, but for her grandchildren as well. The training taught her about income generation and gave her the skill to start a business with a small amount and money management.

It was quite challenging for her to take such a big step since she started without any literacy or skills.
She also didn’t have much strength to work hard like the young women. But her strong persistence and commitment made her fight against her old age and helped her to take initiatives to go the extra mile in her life. She tackled the challenges for her grandchildren and their future.
Hamida started her small business with a loan 5,000 Taka ($78 CAD) without interest from the Udoyon savings group. Now she goes out of her house to sell goods. Everyday she sells food and snacks to the children at the primary school which is three kilometers from her house. She earns good amount of money this way.

It's a three kilometre walk to work for Hamida.

Now she can contribute 500 Takas ($8 CAD) everyday to her family which is enough in this village. She is now able to help her grandchildren study by paying the fees for their school and exams. The children have enough to eat and the family can afford medical care. It’s been a transformative scenario for her family.

Day by day, Hamida grew in confidence and determination. It wasn’t long before her potential was recognized, and she was made the leader of a team of 18 members like her. Despite cultural norms, Hamida urged her new group members to engage in income generating activities so that they could contribute to their families' finances. Now Hamida is a role model and other group members follow her spirit of persistence and hard work to learn and grow.

Hamida has learned how to adapt to her adverse environment and how to apply her newfound skills with confidence.

“It would not have been possible for me to come out from the chains of poverty if I didn’t become a member of a savings group. I didn’t have any knowledge, literacy, or skills to do something, but FH trained me, provided me skills and built confidence in me so that I can run a small business. My savings group gave me the loan to start a new initiative that boosted my strength.”

Now Hamida and her son Shofiqul jointly fight against poverty and try to provide the best for the children’s wellbeing.




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Food for the Hungry: Never Too Old to Battle Poverty
Never Too Old to Battle Poverty
Food for the Hungry
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