‘Fate change story of a puffed rice maker’


DHAKA, March 05, 2019 (BSS/ UNICEF FEATURE) – Konica Rani Mondal has
changed her fate with her small entrepreneurship of making muri (puffed rice)
six years back.

At the outset, she received Taka 15,000 loan from the village development
association (VDA) in her locality under the government’s Ektee Bari Ektee
Khamar (EBEK) (One House One Farm) project.

Brought up in poverty-stricken family, Konica got married to a day laborer
at the age of 15. When she became a mother of two children, her husband was
in real trouble to bear the expenses of four-member family.

“My husband, Krishna Chandra Mondal, was a day labour. He could not
properly manage all family expenses prompting me to be a member of VDA for
involving myself in income generating activities,” said Konika, mother of two
daughters, living in a remote village named Machughata under the Khoksha
upazila in Kushtia district.

She raised her own fund by depositing Taka 200 per month. After one year of
membership, she took Taka 10,000 as loan from the association in the first
phase. Through the loan, she bought rice from market and after making puffed
rice, she started to sell it which saw her face of profit.

In the second phase, she took Taka 15,000 loan and expanded her business.
She repaid the money in time in two phases. For the third time, she took Taka
18,000. “From the business, I make good profit. I produce the puffed rice and
my husband sales it to the market,” Konica said with smiling face.

Konica’s business gets momentum before Ramadan when she has to procure
enough puffed rice due to high demand. She said her business is running
smoothly and now she has no problem for running her family. Her elder
daughter is studying in class 9 while her younger daughter is in class four.
She informed that other women of her locality are also coming forward to
involve in the income generating activities by taking encouragement from her

Talking to BSS, Project Director of the Ektee Bari Ektee Khamar Akbar
Hossain said the goal of the project is poverty alleviation through income
generation of the underprivileged and poor people of the country.

Through the project, he said, the government is assisting to make 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 and 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 2.18 crore poor and extreme-poor people across the
country are getting benefits. A total of 89.939 VDAs have been formed across
the country from which about 43.63 lakh families are getting benefits. The
beneficiaries have deposited over Taka 1,522.41 crore till January 2019 and
the government has provided Taka 1,323.19 crore as grant under the project.

Akber Hossain said currently the government is giving maximum Taka 50,000
as loans among rural people to initiate small livestock farms. “We have a
plan to double the amount from the next year aimed at increasing the
participation of poor women in the income generating activities,” he added.