DHAKA, Nov 2, 2018 (BSS/UNICEF FEATURE) – Moti Akter has changed her livelihood by setting up a goat farm around seven years ago taking a loan of Taka 10,000 from the Village Development Association (VDA) in her village under the Ektee Bari Ektee Khamar (EBEK) project.
She had been fighting with poverty since her childhood. After getting married, her life did not change as her husband was a day labourer and his income was not enough for bearing the expenses of a three-member family.
“My husband was a day labourer. He could not properly manage all family expenses. So, I came to business for supporting my husband,” said Moti, mother of a daughter, living in a remote village named Raghunathpur under Dohar upazila in Dhaka district.
In the hope of a bright future, Moti said, she took loans from several NGOs, but she could not make any progress in her life and subsequently became disappointed.
In the meantime, EBEK project started activities at Raghunathpur village in 2011. At the beginning, Moti Akter became a member of EBEK.
She raised her own fund by depositing Taka 200 per month. After one and a half years of membership, she bought a high quality goat with Taka 10,000 in the first phase. Through the rearing of goats, the wheel of her life started moving towards development. After selling two goats, now she has nine goats now.
In the second phase, she bought a cow taking a loan of Taka 20,000. She repaid the money in time in two phases. For the third time, she bought a high quality cow with Taka 60,000. For buying the cow, she took Taka 30,000 loan from EBEK and the rest of the money came from the sale of goats. At present, the worth of her cows and goats is Taka 1.50 lakh.
Now, Moti’s husband is cultivating some lands on lease and she is cultivating vegetables on her house premises. She married off her daughter. The financial condition of her daughter’s husband is very good.
Moti does not want to remember the days of pain that she has left behind. Expressing gratitude to the EBEK, she said, “If I wasn’t a member of the project, I couldn’t experience happiness in life.”
Talking to BSS, Project Director of the Ektee Bari Ektee Khamar Project Akbar Hossain said the goal of the project is poverty alleviation through income generation of the under privileged and smallholders of the country.
Through the project, he said, the government is assisting capital formation of the poor farm families, sharpening their skills through training and motivation, allowing them to sit together at courtyard meetings, enabling them to take decisions independently, enabling them to develop need based small family farms and ensuring marketing facilities for their products.
The project started in 2009 with Taka 1,492 crore and finally the project was revised in 2016 with Taka 8,010.27 crore.
The government has set a target to form 1.01 lakh VDAs across the country and the number of beneficiary families will be 60.62 lakh.
Under the project, over 1.90 crore poor and extreme-poor people across the country are getting benefits. A total of 79,579 VDAs have been formed across the country from which about 38.10 lakh families are getting benefits.
The beneficiaries have deposited over Taka 1450.14 crore till September 2018 and the government has provided Taka 1,227.75 crore as grant under the project.