Purpose of Narijibon Blog

Nari Jibon Project seeks to increase our students’ and staffs’ abilities through different ways: classes, practice, computers, internet, and now the Narijibon Blog. Readers and writers (our students & staff) of the Blog will both learn about our lives, culture, Nature, activities of people in Bangladesh and the Nari Jibon Project.

Friday, August 3, 2007

A Tale of a Migrant Women in Bangladesh

Written By: Taslima Akter & M.G. Rabbany

Sheikh Rumana is a name of a woman who works hard who organized five thousand of migrant women but she is not aged, she is only about 31 years old. Now she is an Executive Director of “Bangladeshi Ovibasi Mohila Sramik Association (BOMSA)”. She is also Founder General Secretary of that Organization. We have taken her interview dated 25th July at her house at 8 pm at night. She replied every of our question gladly and gave description of her struggling life.

Sheikh Rumana was born at Nobabgonj thana under Dhaka district in 1976. Nobabgonj is situated very near to north Dhaka. She passed her child hood with her birth family. She has two elder sisters and one younger brother. Her father worked in the ship companies as a labor and mother was mere a housewife. But they are no more today. At her childhood their financial condition was not so good. After completing study up to class-10 she stopped her academic study.

Then she started her working life. In 1992, she joined in a garment factory as an operator. But she could work there only five months. After joining in that garment factory she observed that workers did not get their salary timely and they did not get their overtime money properly. Many garment workers (including her) did not receive their salary for several months. Garment workers started to agitate for their salary and overtime money. With some garment workers Sheikh Rumana also started to lead them. As a result Sheikh Rumana and some garment workers lost their job from that garment factories. In the meantime Sheikh Rumana became a member of BIGUF.

Then Sheikh Rumana thought she would not work in any garment factory in Bangladesh. She would go another country. One of her sister (cousin) worked in a garment factory in Malaysia. She herself communicated with a manpower broker agency which used to send garment workers to the Malaysia. She got visa for two years and she was contracted with a garment factory at Malaysia. She had to pay to that agency 45000 taka for her visa and to migrate there and she somehow collected that money by the help of her birth family. Before going to the Malaysia she and other garment workers were informed that they would receive 450 Rt (Malaysia’s Money) per month but after starting work she and other garment workers used to not receive any fixed money. They used to receive money on the basis of productions. Thus she could earn 250 to 300 Rt (Malaysian money) per month. She used to get food and accommodation facilities where she and other garment workers felt security at Malaysia. She and other garment workers were trained before starting work in Malaysia because machines and other equipments were not same. Their working hours were hold 8.30 am in the morning to 5.00 pm. She worked there for about six years four months. She returned in Bangladesh in 1998.

In the reply of differences of working environment between two countries as a woman worker she told that

Income: Bangladesh garment players pay very low salary to the garment workers. Garment workers receive so less salary that they can not go their life with their hard working income. But garment workers of Malaysia receive much salary. They can go on their life well with their income.

She also said that she observed from her several surveys that garment players of Bangladesh did not want to follow of govt. minimum salary rules which acquired garment workers with their long agitation.

Overtime money: Garment players of Bangladesh make the workers long time overtime work and it has no fixed hours and fixed money. Sometimes garment workers don’t get overtime money or receive less money. But in Malaysia garment workers receive double payment of overtime money and generally they can do two hours overtime work. In Bangladesh garment workers have to work at night shift but there is no night shift work in the garment factories at Malaysia.

Salary receiving: Garment workers in Malaysia receive their salaries in fixed time but Bangladesh garment workers don’t receive their salaries in time. Often we can see in The Daily Newspaper that garment workers are agitating for their due salaries.

She also said that the environment of garment factories in Malaysia and Bangladesh have much difference. Usually she did not find any difference between male and female garment workers at Malaysia but in Bangladesh women garment workers face many problems than male garment workers.

In the reply of when a woman worker faces problem/harass in the abroad or Malaysia, she told that the employer authority keeps passport and some other documents to them. It is a great problem to the worker as if a worker wants to work another where to earn more she/he can not go. Sometimes worker leaves his/her workplace but he/she can not take her passport and other documents, then she/ he faces serious problem. She or he harasses by the police and other people.

Sheikh Rumana returned in Bangladesh in 1998 after working there six years four months long. After coming in Bangladesh she started to meet with her old friend who worked with her in the garment factory of Bangladesh. She also kept communication with BIGUF where she involved when she worked in the factory of Bangladesh. In the meantime she took three months training at ALSC on workers right, relation with employers. After completing her training she also worked as a trainer in this organization. Then she and Lily Sheikh Rumana one of her friend organized migrant women and founded “Bangladeshi Ovibasi Mohila Sramik Association, (BOMSA)”. It was then 1999. She also worked in Bangladesh Legal Aid as part time. She also worked in several organizations’ research projects on garment workers and migrant women as research assistant. Like as, she worked (2003 to 2005) two years follow up longitudinal research project on garment workers under SIU-IUB research project as a field research project. Besides she works as an executive director of her organization.

She has vast knowledge on women’s life, women workers’ life, their violence etc. At the beginning time she faced many problems to collect members of her organization. She gave an example of her experience.

She expressed one of her salty experiences when she went to collect a member for her migrant association. One day she heard that a woman returned in Bangladesh who was harassed much in abroad. After reaching there she saw that she (migrant woman) was living in a hut with her mother in law. She faced problem when she wanted to meet with them. They thought that she (Sheikh Rumana) and Lily Sheikh Rumana were the members of brokers. In the meantime some more neighboring people came to see them. She and Lily were blockaded by them. Then she showed her identity card and introduced her. She also told them that she came to them to help them. Then they became calm quite. She informed that that woman was sent to the Jordan and she worked as a house maid. She worked 19th months to the 19th employers’ houses. But she did not receive any money in this long period. Besides she was harassed brutally and at last she was sent to the country cutting her hair. Sheikh Rumana wanted her passport but she told that she burnt her passport. Sheikh Rumana wanted to file a case but that woman was interested to file any case. Sheikh Rumana gave her some money and Sheikh Rumana also arranged a press conference.

In the reply of her future plan she told that she wants secure migration of all the women. She also told that at present 4 million Bangladeshi are working in abroad and among them only 6% people are women. Day by day the numbers of women workers are increasing. At the beginning time of her organization it was only 1% but now 6%. She wants everyone secure migration. She also told that she already visited more than 10 countries to participate in various seminars and met with migrant women.

At the end she was asked whether she will get married or not and experience of married life, she replied that she has enough experience of married life, conjugal conflict in our society and so she is care to get married. After all her relatives and guardians to get her married but still to date she did not find out such kind of person whom she likes. Probably she will get married if she finds out a suitable person whom she can trust.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A tale of struggled women of Bangladesh - 5

There are many residence based sex working spots in Dhaka city. Usually she knows many sex working spots and she has connection with many women brokers who run these spots. She looks beautiful than some other sex workers. She also wears nice and valuable dresses. She also has some permanent clients who are rich. So, she has much demand in this sector. Usually she collects clients through her cell phone. Almost everyday she receives much phone call from the clients. But she can not give time everyone and she also does not work too much in a day. In last 14th July she had sex with only three clients. There is not fixed amount in residence based sex working. It depends on sex worker, clients and brokers. Usually she works two ways. Sometimes she collects clients and she fixed money talking with clients. Sometimes brokers phone to her but her brokers knows that she does not take less than 1000 taka per program per clients. If she takes clients to any broker’s house she gives broker at least 500 taka. She also said that there are many sex workers who receive less than 500 taka per program. It depends on sex worker’s demands. She said that 13th July she passed with a client whole night at his house and next day she received 5000 taka.

At the end of her interview she said that after starting sex working profession she worked (2001) in a HIV/AIDS research survey project where was she was trained on HIV/Aids. After that she did not have sex with any client with out condom. She spoiled huge money earning from sex working profession but after returning from Dubai she started to save money and now she already saved more than 20 mission taka.


Beggars problem in Bangladesh

by Golam Rabbany

Beggars are found in the villages, in towns and cities. In a word, beggars are found begging every where in Bangladesh. Mainly they gather on Friday near the mosques in the towns, bus stand, railway stations, in front of markets, and in the traffic signals. Most of the beggars are unable bodied. Some are blind, and some are lame. Some boys and girls are also found begging in th
e streets. Those who are very poor, landless or helpless may beg but some able bodied beg being averse to work. During the rainy season poor people of rural areas come to Dhaka for begging alms. They lead very miserable life. At the bus stand, market place and in the traffic signals old beggars and beggar children stretch their hands for taka (money). They cause troubles.

Sometimes they cause accident. It is a great problem in Dhaka or in the Bangladesh.
Now a days they play many tricks to draw the attention of the people. Many falsehoods are being played by them. Many of them recite verses from the holy “The Quran” and some are found singing Islamic Gazal (song). While begging in the street some of them utter peculiar sound to draw the attention of the passers-by. Some of them carry testimonial of the local chairman or from any important person, or from the physicians to help them for the time being. Some beg for the treatment, some for the help of his daughter’s marriage. There are countless false tricks they apply. Children also take some tricks to beg. Sometimes they sell used/stale flowers during traffic signal, sometimes they beg in the park saying false story like as I have not take any food whole day, my step mother does not give me food etc. then they try to cry but few minutes later they laugh.

In some places some beggars are proved cheaters. Some able bodied are found pretending lame, blind or dump. Some healthy beggars pretend to be patients. Women beggars are mostly divorced or widow or bereaved of their husbands or parents.

A mosque, two gates near Nari Jibon office where were thirty six beggars Photo: One blind beggar going to beg to door to door by the help of his wife. They live in Khilgoan Railgate slum From a research on three husband beggars living at Modhupur thana in the district of Tangail it is known that all three hundred beggars are landless. Some of them may have the minimum land only for living or shelter but most of them live in other people’s home. Some of them live in the hut built by the road side. Some of them have their son or sons who are day laborers. Their sons’ also have a needy family. Their daughters generally work as maid servants from the childhood. Their daughters somehow get married by the help of employers or others with landless day laborers. The rural beggars are mostly above sixty. There is some interesting information in the beggars’ society which many of us don’t know. There are some rules to be involved in the beggars’ society or to be a professional beggar. Though there is no organized association of the beggars, they form unauthorized unity. Usually in the thana level or big bazaar area they have a fixed place where they meet hat day. There they can discuss their problem. They select one leader among them and they also select leaders (group leader) in the rural area. These leaders have religious knowledge than others. Under this leadership beggars must oblige some rules such as they beg alms in an area or in a village on the fixed day. None can beg after lunch time or Zohar namaz. None of them can violet the rule. Before starting begging beggar one must seek permission from the villagers. Having permission one has to take oath from the group leader. Group leader give him a stick of bamboo or wood and a begging bag. If a person involve in begging profession he could not quit the begging profession ever. Whole life he will continue begging and most of the time he will pray and obey the religious rules. He will pass his whole life in the way of religion. New beggar will invite some old beggars at the starting time. Beggars can not engage in any profitable business or income generating activities. They have a proverb that if any person fall in serious sick and then if he sacrifice his life in begging profession, Allah will recover him. We found some able bodied beggars who sacrificed his life in begging profession. One may beg alone or many in a group. But we have found some beggars who violet their rules. In the rural area have some beggars who are not professional they come seasonally facing serious problem for a while. In the village if you need some more beggars for a big function you need to inform only one beggar or rural beggars’ leader then they will collect how much you need.

Income source of beggars: I
n the Muslim society, there are some Islamic or religious values that encourage the people to give alms to the beggars. Those are as follows; “if a beggar comes to beg on horse back he should not be avoided.” The Muslims offer their food grains to the beggars at first before eating the new food of the new seasons. The Muslims offer money or rice to the beggars for the purpose of gaining good benefit of his business. The Muslims also offer new fruits of new trees to the beggars. After the death of any relative the Muslims entertain beggars to get blessings from Allah. The Muslims try to get the good wishes of Allah by helping the beggar. They give away sadga, fitra and jakat to the beggars.
(Sadga means one man one day food where are 1kg rice, slight salt and something like curry, many families in the villages offer sadga every week).
Some time people in the village or towns promise in mind to give money to the beggars if he/she faces any serious problem or diseases or danger to be recovered. On the basis of the religious faith the Muslims feed the beggars to their heart’s content in any Islamic festival. For the purpose of any bigger function they invite them through the group leader. The beggars of rural areas gather in the market day. In towns they are mostly found in the bus stand, railway station, or in the launch ghat where there is crowd of people.

There is no unity in the beggar women. They do not get Sadga or any kind of beg offering. Usually they don’t follow beggars’ rules. They can go far from their dwelling place. But they attend the bigger festival or function with the help of the women of that house. Besides, beggar women work as messengers of the village women to carry massage to their relatives. They don’t receive as much beg as the male beggars receive.

The male beggars are called Fakir and the female beggars are called Fakirnee. This is the real picture of the beggars of Bangladesh.

The Crow: A Familiar Bird of Bangladesh

By Tahmina Akter
ID - 552

I am Tahmina Akter. We know about many birds. Among these birds I have tried to write something about the crow. The crow is a familiar and common bird of Bangladesh. It is very black and ugly to look at. The crow has two wings and a small head with two bright eyes. Its’ nails are very sharp. Its’ body is covered with black feathers. There are many kinds of crows. The Reaven is the biggest of all. We can see the white crows in Australia. Crows are found to all over the world. Crows live on fish and flesh. It eats almost every thing. The crow is a very nasty bird. It is always restless. It disturbs us all time and all day. It is a very clever bird. It steals eggs; fish, food from our house. It builds its’ nest on a tall tree and strong pipe to lay its eggs. The crow has strong fellow feelings. But its voice is very harsh. They scream all the time. That’s why people do not like crows. The crows live near the house of people.
Crows do some good things for us also. It eats dead animals and dirty things. They help us to keep our environment clean.

A Village, Besides the River Meghna

by Taufiqa Farzana

ID # 617

Hello, I am a student of Honors. I would like to share about my village to all the readers. May be it is not a well-known village to all. But I think my village is the best village in the world. I was born in my village. That’s why I will write something about my village.

My Village name is Baloakandii. Thana – Gojaria, District-- Munshigonj. It is situated at the side of Meghna River. Our village is very beautiful. About ten thousand people live here. Most of them are Muslim. There are many kinds of people live in my village. Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Christians and other religious people live here. They are very simple and honest. They want to live in peace and harmony. They share others sorrows and sufferings. The main occupation of the villagers is agriculture. There are also some people of other occupation. Some people are educated. Some people are teacher, officers and some people whisk in the filed. There are three primary schools, three mosques, and two madrashas, three muktabs and two colleges in our village. There is also a park in our village. There is much tabulation in our village. Our communication is very good. There is a post office and market place in the village. There is also a hospital. Every house has a garden. All house wives are active in their work and careful for their children. All children go to primary school, high school and college. They can also play in the school field. There are many trees, ponds in our Village. There are many tub-wells in every house. There is also sanitary latrine in every house. We have electricity in every house. Our village is an ideal Village. I love my village very much. I am proud to born here. I love my Village very much.

In South East Asia Bangladesh is one of the few countries that remains to be explored

Written by: Mohtarimun Nahar [Bipa]

Hello readers, I would like to write something about our Bangladesh. Because all know that Bangladesh is a poor country and also known as a corrupted country. But Bangladesh has natural beauties too. So, I will try to write on some Bangladeshi places and their natural beauties. If I do any mistakes and can’t express my feelings then I hope and pray that you will consider me as a new writer. I will keep writing on many Bangladeshi places. Now I am trying to introduce Our Golden Bangladesh.

In South East Asia Bangladesh is one of the few countries that remains to be explored,. It has a delicate and distinctive attraction of its own to offer and it is definitively not a tourist haunt like Nepal or India, It is like a Painter’s dreg come true with a rich tapestry of colors and texture. The traditional emphasis of the tourist trade has arrayed been on the material facilities offered by a country rather than on its actual charms. This may be a reason. Why Bangladesh has seldom been highlighted in the world’s tourist maps.

In reality, Bangladesh made up not entirely made up reality, Bangladesh is not entirely made up of dirty slums and starving children, as the world has been taught to perceive. It has many unique features to offer. The Sundarbans, the largest mangrove forest in the world and the natural habitat of the Royal Bengal Tiger. Lush green lands cope interspersed by a network of vast rivers, the longest natural beach in the world, the history and culture of the land, possibly the most complex ethnic mixture in history, hospital propel -------all these and many more will contribute richly to your experience as a tourist .

The facilities offered are really not as poor as often pictured by the media. We have five star hotels in big cities, clean and comfortable accommodation in practically all towns on tourist traffic routes. A wide Tran’s potation network of air, rail, road and waterways connects all places conveniently. Being of the crossroads of South East Asian Traffic, Dhaka the Capital is easily an accessible from any crones of the globe.

If you are planning a trip to India, Nepal, Bhutan, Mayanmar, Thailand, or Singapore; then please come & visit this beautiful country with very little extra effort or means.

Monday, July 30, 2007

A tale of struggled women of Bangladesh - 4

written by Golam Rabbani Sujon

In 2002, she became very close with a police surgeon who wanted to get married her. They became very close and she trusted him very much but at the end he refused to get married her. She spent enough time and money. She shocked and suffered long days. On the other hand she was not satisfied with her present profession. The family members of her birth family and other relatives did not like her. At the beginning time her guardians tried to stop her way but then she did not obey their words. She tried to avoid her guardians and relatives but now family members don’t want to keep her with them. She was not feeling well to continue her present profession. Being much fasted she was thinking to any how she would stop her profession. In the meantime one of her relative offered her to go to the abroad and he also told her that he would help her to go to the abroad. Her relative wanted 12000 taka for sending Dubai. Beauty collected some money from her savings and she took some money from her mother. Her relative told that she would get two years free visa. So she could do any job in Dubai. Her relative also told that at Dubai he had a friend who would receive her and he might get married her if she would like him. Beauty went to Dubai in the middle of 2004. After going to Dubai Beauty started to live with that guy. She was unemployed few days and then she took a job in a beauty parlor. Once she also worked as a cleaner in the hope of earning some more money. But she was in problem with that guy as he did not want to get married but he was living with her without any marital tie. He did not harass her but he did not to leave her. Then Beauty thought that any how she would earn much money and she would run business in Bangladesh with that money. She also wanted to stay there several years to make cash. But day by day that guy became rude to her. He did not like her to work which time he stayed at home. He enjoyed her whole night and at the end he offered her to sex with some of her friends. Then Beauty tried to take shelter another where. At last she took decision that she would leave that country. After living only one year she returned to Bangladesh. In the meantime she sent 70,000 taka to her mother and she was able take 20,000 taka when she returned in Bangladesh. She said that at the end she thought that it would be better to continue sex work at native country as she had to sex randomly at foreign country.

After returning in Bangladesh several weeks she did not continue sex working profession. Then she started to live with her birth family. But few weeks later she again started to move to and fro again. Then again she started to continue her old profession which she could not continue living with her birth family. Then she took shelter to a woman who was her known before. She started to live with her as a paying guest. That woman was aware about her profession. She also got scope to work in an NGO as a field worker. She worked there for about five months. She used to continue her sex working profession. Now she is running her profession randomly.