Small Loan empowered Anowara Begum

July 10, 2007 | By | Reply More

‘’I thought many times, whether God created me only for sufferings! When my husband Anowara Begum and her Husbandcried out from chest pain, it became unbearable for me like a beloved wife. I used to go from door to door to borrow some money to buy medicines for my husband. But my relatives and neighbors were reluctant to lend money anymore. They were gradually avoided my family .I could not visit doctor for my husband’s treatment”
Anowara Begum, small trader, Bangladesh

Misery and sufferings was the everyday phenomenon in the family lives of Anowara Begum. Because, Anowara of 50 years has a big family of three sons and three daughters. Her husband was a day labor of Patuakhali town in Bangladesh. Over the years, he was extremely sick due to his lung infection and was going to die without treatment.

Anowara expressed in her own voice, I have come from a beggar’s family. My mother is still begging in the street. So, I got married at the very early stage of life. It was only a shifting from one miserable life to another. Marriage in my life could not bring any happiness. Instead, I had to tackle my age-old husband, when my organs of the body were still growing. As I had no other ways of life, I tried to be happy with my husband.

After taking a long breath, Anowara continued, We have six children. Some of them are now earning money. I was happy to think that our misery will be gone. But during the recent years, unfortunately, I observed that my husband was becoming very weak day by day. Once, he was not able to move and lied in the bed. Immediate lied in the bed, his disease gone beyond controlled. It seemed to me that the whole world was dark. I moved from door to door for borrowing money. I attended different NGO Samitee meetings for borrowing money. But NGO’s were reluctant to lend me money telling that, “you have no ways and means to repay”. Even, I begged money to them for my husband’s treatment. But it created more problems. NGO people suspected me that I would spend the loan money for husband’s treatment, which of course will create repayment of the loan. So they straight told me that we had no fund for treatment and you are not eligible for getting loan. Because, your husband is sick and he is not able to earn money.

Anowara said, After moving the whole day, when I returned home, my neighbors advised me “as your husband will no more live so you may offer him what he wanted to eat” I have traveled a long way for collecting some money in anyway. But I failed. In the meantime, I have heard that a NGO named SAP-Bangladesh is lending money among beggars and extreme poor like me. Then I attended their Samity meeting and weeping silently. At a time Manager asked me ‘‘why you are weeping?” I replied, “sir, please don’t reject me, please give me some loan. No NGO offers me loan. Because I am very poor slum dweller. ‘’Don’t worry” The Manager said. “We are seeking extreme poor like you for lending money. What will you do if you get some money?” I replied, “my husband is sick and his treatment is the highest priority to me. After his treatment, we will choose a trade suitable for us.”

Anowara continued, After fulfilling all formalities, the Manager offered me 4000 BDT as loan. I can not express how much happy I was, by getting this amount of money! I Anowara’s Husband selling Teastraight went to my slum with a Rickshaw. I took my husband in my shoulder up to a rickshaw and went to the Barisal medical college hospital. After arrived there, the doctor checked him and became angry to see his serious condition and asked, “Why you have done so much late to bring him to the hospital, do you know that he is going to die”! I replied, “Sir, I am very poor woman and I had no money to bring my husband to the hospital”.

Anowara continued, Doctor was sympathized to me and he started treatment. After 2 weeks, my husband recovered from illness and we returned back to our slum. We had rest 2000 BDT of loan. I have spent Taka 2000 BDT for my husband’s treatment. I thought that it will not be possible for my husband to do any heavy work due to his immediate recovery from disease. So I bought two Flasks at the cost of 1000 BDT and then my husband started to do a business of mobile tea selling. When he is tired, he takes rest. Even then, the business continued. By selling tea, now, he is earning more than one hundred Taka per day. One the other hand, I have started to do domestic poultry business.

Anowara said, Once NGOs were afraid to lend money to a woman like me. But this is my pleasure to say that in the meantime, I have received second loan from SAP-Bangladesh. After successful repayment of loan for 2 times I am going to receive my third loan. Now, I have a dream to start small hotel business in future. SAP-Bangladesh assured to graduate me in its mainstream micro credit program after one year. I am happy now with my husband and child. Misery and sufferings is reducing day by day. Thanks almighty Allah for saving my husband’s life. Thanks SAP-Bangladesh to provide loan money, which facilitated to save my husband from death. Thanks PKSF for introducing such kind of extreme poor product, where we have not to pay any admission charge and compulsory savings. Where we have not to pay passbook cost and the rate of interest is lower in the credit market. We are happy with this product.”

Briefly, this is the changing life story of an extreme poor slum dweller. We have thousands of life stories like Anowara Begum.

Author: Md. Shahidul Islam of SAP-BANGLADESH

Category: Knowledge for Development, Rural Women

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