Since independence in 1971, Bangladesh has endured famines, natural disasters and widespread poverty, as well as political turmoil and military coups. Despite the restoration of democracy in 1991, about half of the people in this densely populated nation still live below the poverty line. Global Concern projects in Bangladesh focus on long-term community development through the implementation of micro-enterprise programs for adults and the provision of primary education for the children. Global Concern operates 4 primary schools in the country along with 5 vocational training centres. Together these centres provide education to over 1,000 children, sewing training to around 150 women and peddle rickshaws to about 40 men every year. You can sponsor a child, buy a sewing machine or just support the ongoing operation of the project by giving to Global Concern. Learn more...
Unnoti is 22 and lives with her parents. She graduated from Global Concern's sewing project in 2004 and was selected as one of the beneficiaries to be granted her own sewing machine. Thanks to her training and the new machine Unnoti brings in an income of around 3-3,500 taka (AU$48-$55) a month. However, during certain festivals she can sometimes make around 5,000 taka (AU$80) in one month sewing costumes. Unnoti has 5 younger sisters and her extra income is used to help pay for them to go to school. Go to www.globalconcern.org.au to buy a sewing machine and give someone like Unnoti an opportunity to start their own business.
This gentleman was finding it difficult to provide for his family when Global Concern chose him to be the beneficiary of a new van to help generate an income. Since then he has managed to use the profits of his van to save enough money to buy 3 rickshaws. He now not only works riding his own van, but rents the other 3 rickshaws out to other individuals to gain a greater income for his family. Each rickshaw is rented out at around 40-50 Bangladeshi taka a day (60-80 cents). Those who rent it from him can expect to earn around 200-300 Bangladeshi taka a day (or around AUD$3-5). He plans to continue to save his money and purchase further rickshaws and vans which he will use to continue to increase his earnings and ensure his family is provided for, as well as assisting his friends to make a living by renting them each of his rickshaws.
For Sufia, her husband Sujon, and their son Saikot, Global Concern’s sewing centre provided a fork in the road to move them out of poverty and into financial security. Sufia graduated from Global Concern’s sewing centre in 2002. She then trained her husband in sewing so that they could both sew items to make a living. Thanks to Sufia’s teaching, Sujon soon found employment with a textile company where he furthered his training, learning how to sew menswear. In 2004, Sufia and Sujon decided to buy their own store and work for themselves, selling direct to the public. They have been operating their own business for 5 years now. They own 5 sewing machines and employ 3 workers. For Sufia, Sujon and Saikot, the sewing school has been the catalyst to moving their family down the path to their destination of self sufficiency.
Bilkis is married with one daughter. She attended a training course with Global Concern's Hemayetpur sewing centre for 4 months and after graduating brought 2 sewing machines on a loan. One machine cost her around 3,000 taka (AUD$50) second hand, and the other around 5,000 taka (AUD$80) brand new. She could not sew before the course but now has a skill that can earn her a living. Bilkis has had good success finding business directly with locals in her area and 3 months ago began renting her own small shop in order to generate a greater income. Whilst Bilkis estimates it will take her around 2 years to fully pay off her two sewing machines, her current income has improved and her family has greater economic security and opportunity thanks to the project.
Shika graduated from the sewing school in 2005 and received a machine from the project in 2008 (funding had not been available to give her a machine in 2005). She lives with her husband and 2 children. They used to struggle to purchase many of the basic necessities for their family but the provision of a machine has enabled her to earn an extra 800 taka (AU$13) a month, which has helped a lot, as well as making their own cheap clothes.