Micro Finance helped Amena Begum escape abject poverty

June 11, 2007 | By | Reply More

Amena Begum escape abject povertyBorguna, June, 07: For over forty years, Amena Begum lived a life of abject poverty, disappointment and torture. She was born into a poor vegetable trading family in Barobigai village of Amtali upazilla under Borguna district in Bangladesh.

At the tender age of ten, she was traded away by her father to a man thirty years her senior, for a dowry payment. Life deteriorated rapidly for Amena. “I was so little that I couldn’t understand marriage so I was unable to make my husband happy. As a result, my in laws family members tortured me mercilessly. But to avoid my father’s overburden, I never moved to my father’s house. Instead I tolerated all pains silently. In course of time I became a mother of two children. Since my beginning of conjugal life, my husband was sick. He lost even his strength of work and gradually became paralyzed. It was a big disaster in my life. In the meantime my father died and my mother fell into a serious misery. Then none of us earned enough money to feed us. Finally I decided to move to Patuakhali town with my mother and children.”

In Patuakhali, Amena went fruitlessly door to door to look for work but there was none, not even as a maidservant. She had no option but to resort to begging in the street with her mother. Her mother is still begging.

One day, while begging, she met a disabled man named Sultan Molla. “Molla became sympathized to see my miseries of life and he started to take care of me. One day he proposed me to marry with him. I thought what is the meaning of this marriage and life where there is no assurance of food and shelter. I am not secured even in the city. Finally I agreed to marry him and I got married in 1998. By this marriage I got a security of life but poverty remained surrounded by me”

Then Amena heard that a national NGO called South Asia Partnership-Bangladesh provided funds to extreme poor slum dwellers and beggars. “Then I moved to South Asia Partnership-Bangladesh office and asked manager for some loan. Manager asked me -what would you do if you get some money? I told him sir, through a prolonged struggle of life now I feel sick. But my disabled husband has some experience to sell green coconut. Now he is doing this business through borrowing money from traditional moneylenders at extreme high interest rates. If I get some money we can start this business in a full swing and can earn more profit”

Disable Sultan Molla surviving life by selling green coconutAmena received a loan of Tk-3000 (GBP25) from South Asia Partnership-Bangladesh in September 2005, and started their green coconut business. Her husband sells the Green coconuts by standing in the same place as his other job; that of collecting tolls from city people who come to relieve themselves at the Govt. Sanitary latrine. He earns Tk 90-100 (GBP.80) per day from this job. Amena helps him sell the Green coconuts when they get busy.

Amena has repaid her first loan and received a second one for Tk-5000 (GBP40) to expand their green coconut business. Because of her good payment record, South Asia Partnership Bangladesh has committed to provide Amena with Tk-12, 000 (GBP100) in January 2007 so that she can lease the government sanitary latrine facilities. This would generate about Tk-36, 000 (GBP300) profit per year for them and make Amena’s dream, of being able to support her mother so that she does not have to beg in the street anymore, a reality.

Micro Credit has replaced Amena and Molla’s abject poverty and misery with new hopes and dreams for the future.

Contributor: Md. Shahidul Islam
Credit Coordinator, SAP-Bangladesh

Category: Knowledge for Development, Rural Women

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  1. Ahsan says:

    Thank you for the article and picture
    i use your picture in my country presentation …not getting enough time to ask your permission but mention your name as picture courtesy
    thank you ahsan

    • Shahidul Islam says:

      Dear Mr.Ahsan,

      Many thanks for your e-mail.

      I became impressed to know that  you used some picture of my article in your country presentation.

      At the same time I appreciate your sincerity that you felt to take permission from writer,although you mentioned my name as picture courtesy.

      Again many thanks for your excellent sense of responsibility.


      Md.Shahidul Islam
      Credit Coordinator
      South Asia Partnership Bangladesh.

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