Since 2006, over 1,800 families have been empowered through OBAT’s micro finance program in Syedpur. This program was mainly designed for women entrepreneurs who were offered micro loans ranging from $100 to $1,000. Extensive training before and during the program was also provided to enable the borrowers to run their businesses and to teach them basic financial literacy. The women in the camps are illiterate and the only way to empower them is through education and micro finance. Instead of perpetuating their cycle of poverty by making them dependent on external assistance, OBAT’s program has made them self-sufficient. Currently, the initial project in Syedpur is self-sustained with a total rolling fund of approximately $500,000.
Here are some stories of lives changed through micro finance:
Sanjeeda enrolled in OBAT’s microfinance program and started a business of embroidering outfits and sarees. Her business began to thrive and she was able to pay off the loan in just one year. Read more.
Chanda is committed to providing for her children so that their dreams can become realities. The wife of a supportive husband and a loving mother of four, Chanda provides for her family by working as a seamstress. Read more.
Razia lives with sons in Bangalipur camp. Never having received an education, Razia worked as a day laborer for pitiful daily wages before she took a loan from the micro finance program. Read more.
Jobs are very hard to find for the camp dwellers; discrimination diminishes their prospects greatly. For women, chances of finding employment are much less. They earn only a pittance, working as a maid servant in various people’s homes. Doing arduous labor in a factory in exchange for a few Takas does not offer any more appeal either.
OBAT’s first sewing program began in November 2011 at Bansbari camp, in Syedpur. Many of the graduates from the Syedpur sewing center and the sewing center at Khulna, are now spreading their wings and looking for ways to sell the clothes they stitch, in local markets. They also stitch uniforms for OBAT’s schools’ students. Every year, around 150-175 students graduate from these two vocational centers.
Syedpur sewing center
Guria, proudly holding up a dress she learned to stitch
Khulna sewing center