Bangladesh: Minoti Rani, the Milktrader
With the support of the Diakonia partner organization Udayankur Seba Sangstha (USS) Minoti Rani in Bangladesh is now a successful business woman. She looks at the future with hope and expectations.
Minoti Rani lives in Doobachuri village of Niphamari district in Bangladesh. At age fifteen she was married to Shyam Charn. Her husband was a day labourer and the family used to depend on his income alone, living from hand-to-mouth. Shyam Chran’s income alone could not fulfil their financial needs and quarrels and arguments were an everyday problem.
Wanted to find a solution for financial stability
Minoti came in contact with the Participatory Action Research (PAR) Group of Udayankur Seba Sangstha (USS) and decided to become a member. With the support of Diakonia, USS is working in eighteen villages of Nilphamari district. USS facilitates the formation of groups and weekly meeting discussions. In the meetings, members identify, analyse and find solutions to the problems and take initiatives to solve those problems. They themselves will decide the kind of solutions that best fit individual problems.
The members are mostly landless, day labourers, rickshaw pullers, small-scale sellers, hawkers and students. Two-thirds of the participants are female, aged between fourteen to forty-five years. Minoti Rani is one these group members striving to improve her economic and social conditions.
Started her own business
Minoti Rani shared her problem with other group members. The group discussed with Shyam Charan and brought him in to join a male-group.
After consulting their fellows, they decided to start a grocery shop. Working as a maid, Minoti had savings of Tk 400.
Later in their village, a song festival took place. From that festival:
“I had a profit of Tk 750. I invested this money into grocery shop.“
Saving some more money, Minoti Rani bought a cow and started selling milk at a local market of Ramgonj. At the beginning, people were critical, making comments that a woman was selling milk in a market. But the group members provided moral support and Minoti ignored the adversity and continued her business.
Hoping to get schooling for her child
Her goodwill helped to expand business; she now buys milk wholesale and sells at a retail price. As a result, she gets a profit of Tk 70/80 (US$1) each day. Minoti says: "I buy milk. By selling milk, pay-off dues. Also get some profit."
In the afternoon, when Minoti Rani goes to market, Sham Charon manage the shop
“Earlier we used to have food twice a day, now can afford three meals.”
Minoti’s dream for the future is that her only child Shawpon will be educated and will get the opportunity to realise all his dreams.