Women empowerment not a far cry, achievable with changed mind-sets

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DHAKA, Aug 31, 2020 (BSS)- It was beyond the imagination of Ayesha, a poor Narsingdi woman, that the concept of women empowerment would one day stir her thoughts to embrace farm life.

It was also not known to her that women’s security and decision-making power are the pre-requisites for women’s empowerment.

Like many others, poor Ayesha lost the power of starting a new life after the tragic death of her day labourer husband. Ayesha Khatun endured the first shock of her life when her husband lost a leg in a tragic road accident in 2016. They used to live at a village in Sadar upazila of Narshingdi district. The final shock swept Ayesha when her only bread-earner husband died, putting her in a deep trouble to maintain a six-member family.

With no idea of women’s self-reliance, the cruel reality of financial hardship made vulnerable Ayesha to become fixated on the notion that her life would be perfect if only she earned money to run her crisis-ridden family.

It is widely believed that women empowerment is all about giving women power and control of their lives to become anything they want and to do what they want in situations where they were not allowed once upon a time.
With conceiving the idea of women empowerment that helps women to stand on their own legs, become independent and also to earn for their family, Ayesha ventured to start farming on their own land in char area.

In the beginning, she sowed seeds of sweet potato and cultivated vegetables on only 3 kathas of char land. Initially, she earned about Taka 17,000 by selling potato and vegetables. Later, she farmed groundnut along with potato and vegetables.

Not only Aysha, thousands of extremely poor people living in 12 remote char unions of Sadar and Raipura upazilas of the district have successfully defeated poverty by adopting various income-generating ventures.

Local people said most of the people here have achieved success through farming groundnut, sweet potato and vegetables on vast tracts of sandy barren char land in Meghna and Arial Kha river basins.

Besides, a number of poor people living in the char villages of the district have also achieved self-reliance through rearing livestock on char land, fish farming and duck rearing in the rivers, they said.

The local Agricultural Extension Department provided training to the farmers of char villages on cultivation of groundnut, sweet potato and vegetables.

The DAE also provided them with seeds and pesticides free of cost. Currently, the people of char villages of the district are leading a completely changed life with achieving hygienic sanitation, access to pure drinking water, and reduction of malnutrition to their children, women and pregnant women.

Aysha said, “We are happy with our present status
of life. My three children are now going to schools. Many women of the area have turned successful through farming in char land.”

She said the DAE is also providing necessary advices, seeds and pesticides free of cost to women farmers. They also visit the char areas regularly, she added.

Deputy Director of the DAE Lotafat Hossain said farmers of the locality could bring about revolutionary changes in their life after getting trainings as well as assistance from them.

Women population constitutes around 50 percent of the total population, and a lot of women have, of late, done exceptionally well in agro-farming. Their successful stories of self-reliance make other vulnerable women to think that women empowerment leads to more economic benefits not to individuals but to the society as well.

There are many ways in which we can empower girls and the task does not solely lay with the government but with everyone in the society.

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