Dhunot Development Project

The Dhunot Development Project has operated for the last 8 years on the western side of the Jamuna river, with Bengali communities and some smaller minority groups. 

  • Opportunities: A number of the group members have husbands working in other places in Bangladesh and so the women take on many of the activities of the group to widen the income base of the family
  • Challenges: Many of the groups are located on the riverside of the levy banks with flooding in the houses an annual inconvenience. Greater poverty. The isolation is also a problem for staff.
  • Achievements: 68 groups with 1,263 members. Pre-schools have worked well in this area to prepare the children for school.

 

Sufea's Story

DhunotSufeaSufea is 35 and lives in Chandiar village in Dhunot. Married with 5 children, Sufea didn’t know how to read, nor did she have any land on which to grow food for her family. The family, supported by the irregular wages of her labourer husband, was poor – Sufea couldn’t afford to provide education, food and clothing for their children.

A Project staff member went to Chandiar village and met Sufea. The village women listened to his description of Symbiosis’ work and decided to take up the offer of a Functional Education Class for the village. Sufea was among this group of women, and learned to read with her peers over the 8 month course. When completed, the group formed the ‘Hera Mohila Dol’ (Diamond Women’s Group).

Hera Mohila Dol meets weekly and each member deposits 10 taka to their group savings. They have together learned ways to make extra income by raising cattle, cultivating vegetables, and keeping chickens & ducks. Sufea decided to take an interest free loan of 6000 taka from the Project’s  small enterprise fund, and added more savings of her own to purchase a small cow for 7,500 taka ($100). Raised carefully by Sufea and her husband, the cow is now valued at 30,000 taka ($410).

Sufea is repaying her loan from money she earns from selling vegetables and eggs. Since joining the group Sufea’s status in her home has improved. Because she is helping to support the family, her husband now involves her in the discussion of family matters, and her status in the community has improved. Sufea enjoys knowing that she can feed her family good food and clothe them, and she is grateful to Symbiosis for the big changes in her life.