Dhaka, Wednesday, May 23, 2018

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Sanitary napkin factory in Dinajpur helps women

DHAKA, Feb 9, 2018 (BSS) - Mahfuza Akther Rimi, a 13-year-old girl at Pakerhat Bazar of Khansama upzila in Dinajpur district, completed her final examinations two months ago. She is now a student of class eight.

It was hard for Rimi to continue her studies as her day-labourer father could not afford the expenses.

"Being a girl of a needy family, I had to face a lot of problems to continue my education," said Rimi, who is now working at a local sanitary napkin factory during free time alongside studies.

Rimi said her school friend Khadiza, who is also from a poor family, is also working with her at the factory to continue her education.

Not only Rimi and Khadiza, a total of 15 juvenile girls of different classes are working in the local 'Asmani Sanitary-Napkin Factory' to run their education.

Selina Akther, a local woman, set up the factory at Pakerhat Bazar in 2016 with the financial help of Plan International Bangladesh, a non-government organization.

Selina said many local girls worked in the factory since its establishment to bear their educational expenses.

Besides, the women of the area get sanitary napkins at low prices from her factory, she added. She said the local women and girls are now more aware of their health, especially their menstruation, and they want good napkins at low prices.

Selina said around 100 to 150 sanitary napkins are manufactured at her factory every day. "After meeting the demands of individuals, we are also selling the product to the local hospitals and clinics," she added.

She said this has been possible as women empowerment in Bangladesh witnessed stunning progress over the last few years, especially during the tenure of the present government.

Under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Selina said, women empowerment has been placed at the heart of Bangladesh's development agenda.

The country has achieved remarkable success in advancing women under her leadership and been regarded as the "role model" for the advancement of women in the world, she added.

Because of various initiatives of the present government, the womenfolk of the country have been playing a strong role in trade and commerce, politics and other fields, she added.

Manager of the factory Shahana said earlier many women didn't buy the sanitary napkins as their prices are high in the market. But now, almost every woman of the area is using napkins as they get those at a low price. Besides, the health risk among the women has reduced in the area, she added.

"I want to continue my work along with my education...I spend two to three hours every day in the factory," Rimi said, adding, "I also want to contribute to my family financially."

She said the change of the mindset of the people has helped her to be confident and take any decision.