Shahina (27) lives in Tulatoli village under Satkania Upazila of southeast Bangladesh. Her house was washed away during the typical torrential rain and strong flash flood in 2012. Crops, ready for harvest, in her husband’s field were totally destroyed.

When Islamic Relief Bangladesh offered her financial support of 10 thousand taka for restoring her livelihood, she decided to start tailoring business, because she had developed some tailoring skills when she was a student. Moreover, she knew that the women and children in the village love tailored dresses as her design and stitching fits them well. After receiving the money, Shahina repaired her hut; and bought a second hand sewing machine with other raw materials like bobbin, thread, scissors etc to start-up her business.

Shahina took fewer amounts of wages in comparing with other tailors at local markets and locals particularly women felt comfortable to have a female tailor at their neighborhoods. Therefore, Shahina receives enormous orders of cloth making and now passing busy hours.

She earns four to six thousand taka per month while during festive season; she earns more and needs extra help. She also earned two thousand taka by providing hands on training one of her neighbor girl. She now plans to extend one room in her home to start training on tailoring for women & girls. She plans to educate her children so that they can enjoy better life.

Saidul Haque, elected member of ward-5 under Choroti Union, said, “Shahina is a great example of our community- she now is concerned about welfare of other poor women, advocating for them to enlist in government safety net programs”. Shahina smiled and told, “I do not have to wait for VGD (Village Group Development – Social Safety Net program of Bangladesh government) card anymore. I am self-reliant now. Many women in my community are in miseries for which I am trying get relief from safety net programs of government”.

Shahina’s success proves that a little external support encourages a giant leap in their livelihood and social position.

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