Manikgonj Rural Development Service

Operating in a small district northwest of Dhaka, this project has been working with mostly Bengali communities for the last 8 years.

  • Opportunities: Proximity to Dhaka so some of the men live and work away from home.
  • Challenges: While close to the major city, services are not as good as other areas, though another NGO is working in the area.
  • Achievements: 32 groups with 510 members. The best performing Symbiosis Hairdressing Salon is located in this area.

 

ManikgonjShukurjan Shukurjan's Story

On the east side of Kaligonga River is the village of Shanbandha, home to 50 year old widow Shukurjan Begum.  Shukurjan has had a very difficult life. Married and then widowed while still a teenage girl, Shukurjan has raised her daughter by working as a servant for others. Exploited because of her poverty and illiteracy, Shukurjan made only enough money to survive.

When Shukurjan heard about Symbiosis’ work, she joined her village’s Functional Education Class and then started contributing 10Tk a week to the group savings of the ‘Bakul Women’s Development Group’. For the first time in her life, Shukurjan can read, write and calculate sums. With the help of the MRDS field worker she started a 50-tree plantation in a small patch of fallow land beside her house. For 2 years she has been taking care of her trees as an environmental contribution and a financial  asset. From next year Shukurjan will fell the trees and make a good profit. This small business is one way that Shukurjan, who has no sons, plans to look after herself as she gets older.