Champa Begum, originating from Kurigram’s Gopalpur, a successful tea stall owner and a mother of two daughters, tells a very different story when she talks of her past.
“My mother rushed to marry me off. But, by the time I was five months pregnant with my first child, my husband had remarried for dowry, and I found that he had done the same thing before,” – said Champa.
After leaving her husband' shouse, she was forced to take shelter at her mother’s home, Champa was in a dire situation. But all that changed one day after she decided to act after hearing an announcement from the local union council.
"They were talking about the SWAPNO project. I contacted them and got to join the project through lottery."
She continued to talk about how the project enabled her to work in government constructions to support her family and make some savings. The project members were also trained in business management, agriculture, and livestock management. She started a small tea stall with the money saved – working with SWAPNO in the morning and running her own business in the afternoon. She invested the BDT 22,500 she saved during the project's tenure at the end of the period and expanded her t-stall gradually. She currently has a capital of more than Tk 100,000 for the shop and is now planning to expand her business.
Kajoli Rani from Haribhanga village of Kurigram's Rajarhat Upazila, a successful make-up artist, and a mother of one child, was driven out into the streets by her in-laws along-with her child with only the clothes on their back and had to take refuge at her father's place, who himself was struggling to meet the days end. After joining and receiving training from SWAPNO, Kajoli joined a local Beauty parlor as an apprentice and confirmed her job after 3 months.
With SWAPNO savings, she bought a cow worth BDT 35,000. She can now support her family through her consistent income of BDT 7000-8,000 per month.
After graduation from SWAPNO project, the value of her assets has increased to around BDT 45,000, and her eyes tear up in joy as she sees her child leads a good life. She is now planning to open her own beauty parlor.