Porisker Begum is a 36-year old woman, stands in front of her house having a big smile. She smiles on her happiness wining a tremendous fight over poverty. Porisker Begum is a group member of Gokul Nagar Mohila Samity of BEES in Narsingdi. Gokul Nagar, a small village lacking any sign of development and urbanization, is situated in Raipura upazila under Narsingdi district in Bangladesh. Agriculture is the main occupation of the village people although a small number of them are engaged in some other petty jobs. Majority of the villagers live below poverty line though there are some well to do farmers also living in the village.
Md. Kabir Hossain, husband of Porisker Begum, is an irregular helper of bus-service. They have four daughters and a son. The children were not in the habit of going to school. Their position in the society was very low. Porisker Begum wished to bring a change in their distressed condition. But she couldn't find any visible way open out this economic impasse. Just during this condition of the family, their neighbour Bilkis Begum gave her direction about a new way, a light of hope, to become member of Gokul Nagar Mohila Samity ( Women's Association) of BEES. The samity aims at bringing sustainable changes in the lives of the poor, illiterate and unskilled people especially the women by empowering and enhancing their socio-economic capacities through Rural Development Programmes. The samity members also pursue multidimensional programmes like Micro-enterprise, Poultry and Livestock, Agriculture & Social Forestry, Education, Health, MCH FP, Nutrition, Urban Poor Development and so on.
The idea moved Porisker Begum immensely. She went to BEES office and thus could do something with a view to reducing poverty of the family. She also discussed with her husband about the matter. Taking consent from the husband, she joined Gokul Nagar Mohila Samity. Thus she began her new life.
Porisker Begum says, "In my days of hardship, the staff of BEES encouraged me a lot by advising and helping me on many facilities of becoming a samity member. Completing all the formalities I became a member of the Gokul Nagar Mohila Samity with full confidence", Porisker Begum narrates the story of her becoming a samity member. Becoming a member of the samity Porisker Begum started to deposit her savings in the samity. Maintaining all other formalities Porisker Begum took the first loan of Taka 3,000 from the samity. She narrates, "Adding my loan money with my hard work I managed to buy a cow. Then there was one cow with a calf in my shed. I had a future plan to build a diary-farm by my own". Porisker Begum started stepping into a new dream of brighter future. By selling cow-milk only, she started earning Taka 3,750 per month. Day by day, the calf was also becoming bigger in size. Porisker Begum was very conscious about taking care of the calf and the cow as she got the training and advice of cow rearing from BEES. The loan from BEES helped her like anything in purchasing the cow. She opines, "It's not a matter of day rather gradually I attained the eligibility for taking this loan gradually". Joining the Samity, she first accumulated saving in the collective fund. When an amount was saved after depositing little by little, she applied for a loan for the first time. With this money she bought a cow. After fattening the cow, she sold it. This brought her a profit to the margin of Taka 2,500. Meanwhile, she reimbursed the loan money and took a loan of Taka 5,000 for the second time.
With the second loan money, Porisker Begum took agreement of a piece of land. The couple along with their children started working very hard on the land and with great toil produced paddy, bean, various kinds of kitchen vegetables and sweet pumpkin. They earned a lot of money by selling all these in the market. This brought solvency in the family and new dresses of children replaced the old and shabby ones, and arrangements were made for the education of children. At this point her two daughters started going to school. After paying back the loan, she got a loan of Taka 8,000 for the third time.
With the third loan Porisker Begum bought a cow, and selling milk much was earned. Again she sold the cow and the calf and further bought a cow with a calf. It became easy for her to repay the loan by selling the cow milk. In this way through repeated buying and selling of cows and calfs, Porisker Begum became able to earn some extra money with which she could bring some change and progress in various spheres of the family. She now owns a sanitary latrine including Tubewell in her home. All the members of the family now enjoy a better life style.
Porisker Begum took a loan of Taka 10,000. As she was always conscious and keen in repaying loans timely it became possible for her to take further a loan of Taka 12,000. After getting the loan, she again took agreement of a land. Cow and poultry rearing side by side taking land agreement and hard labour done by all of her family members has brought remarkable success for the family. Now there's smile of happiness in the tired face of Porisker Begum. That is why she can utter, as to family level, "I've no pain but only hope and dream. Economic prosperity has been followed by peace and happiness in my family". The difference is clearly stated by the following comparative observation of the earning and expenditure of the family at present: