‘Amar Bari Amar Khamar’ project benefits 9,340 villagers in Rajshahi

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By Dr Aynal Haque

RAJSHAHI, March 14, 2020 (BSS)- The ‘Amar Bari Amar Khamar (ABAK)’ project
as well as its Polly Sonchoy Bank (PSB) has started contributing a lot
towards making the less-income group villagers self-reliant through inspiring
them to various income generating activities.

After being members of Village Development Committee (VDC), 9,340 villagers
have learnt how to search for income generating activities and become self
reliant through quality investment and best uses of those in the district.

Ferdousi Khatun, a member of Matikata VDC in Godagari upazila, has attained
self-reliance after the best uses of her loan money. Firstly, she took a loan
of Taka 10,000 and purchased a sewing machine in around five years back.

Now, she is the owner of three goats and two cows side by side with her
tailoring works with furthermore investments.

“My conjugal life is very miserable due to my husband’s drug-addiction,”
said Khatun, adding that she left her husband with a minor daughter amidst an
uncertain condition around five and a half years back.

But at present, she becomes a small entrepreneur limiting her dependence on
her parents to a greater extent. She got a new life terming the VDC
membership as the turning point of her life.

Like other upazilas across the country, the ABAK project is being
implemented in 166 selected villages of nine Union Parishads in the Godagari
upazila since 2009-2010 fiscal year benefiting 6,732 people including 4,040
women, said Nure Tanjila, upazila coordinator of the project.

A fund of Taka 7.24 crore including the monthly savings of the
beneficiaries worth Taka 2.06 crore has already been developed, she said,
adding all the financial transactions are now being conducted through online
banking that ensured transparency and accountability in the whole process.

The loans over Taka 7.91 crore were given among 6,121 VDC members for
cattle rearing, fisheries, poultry farming, producing paddy and vegetable and
vermicompost.

Julekha Begum, a member of Enayetullapur VDC, has become a successful small
entrepreneur in terms of her processing and selling of cheese to different
hotels and restaurants. “We are processing cheese from around 75 liters of
milk every day,” said Begum, adding that she is paying her loan installment
regularly.

She gets full support from her husband and two sons to operate the business
enterprise.

Homestead gardening has become a boon to the life of Ataur Rahman, a member
of Pakri Dighipara VDC, who started farming after getting a loan worth Taka
50,000 in 2016.

A member of Kurshuna Eshabpur VDC, Durul Huda has become an icon in grocery
business. In line with his previous success, he took a loan worth Taka 70,000
and invested it to his business very recently.

Nure Tanjila said the beneficiary members were imparted improved and modern
training on various trades including livestock, fisheries, nurseries and
horticulture at the initial stage of their membership.

Important portfolios of the committees like president and managers were
given training on project management and innovation of income generating
activities. Besides, 60 members have been brought under small
entrepreneurship training.

Upazila Nirbahi Officer Nazmul Islam Sarker said utmost importance has been
given on proper implementation of the project so that the target group of
people can derive its total benefits. ABAK is one of the 10 special
initiatives of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, he added.

“Role of the project is very much important towards capacity development of
the members, particularly empowerment of women beneficiaries,” said Jahangir
Alam, an upazila chairman.

The ABAK project and PSB are benefiting 9,340 members of 292 VDCs in all
nine upazilas of the district including Godagari one at present, said Gloria
Ghosh, district coordinator of the ABAK project.

Professor Moazzem Hossain Khan of the Department of Economics in Rajshahi
University (RU) said the project has become a driving force to the villagers
in terms of transforming them into various income generators.

“ABAK has been playing a vital role towards making the less-income group
people self-reliant in line with its key objectives,” he said, adding that
the project will bring a positive change to the lives of the beneficiaries
within the near future.

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