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, September 28, 2007

Ruby Rahman- A Successful Business Woman

Written by M.G. Rabbany
Pictures & Video by Taslima Akter

Ruby Rahman (36) runs a handicrafts business. After the death of her husband she is running her business seriously. Now she has rented two roomed float at Malibagh chowdhurypara for their accommodation and factory. She appointed four young girls as her factory workers. She collected them from their village. She gives them training on handicrafts. She also provides them food, clothes and accommodation facilities at her own house e factory. These girls also can earn some money and they can send to their village. Their income depends on their production. Ruby Rahman and one of her sister in low named Poly (who also a student of Nari Jibon) jointly runs their business. They make mainly bags and show pieces by the clothes/threads and skin. At the beginning time she and her sister in low used to make bags for their known persons and that was very little. But after the death of her husband she expanded her business. Now they are supplying their production to the famous shops and markets in Dhaka city. Their latest production is mobile phone bag which have very demand in the market. Recently they are supplying their production in the Baily Road’s shops which are luxurious shops in Dhaka city. Ruby Rahman informed that they can earn average Tk. 12000 every month excluding expenditures. Ruby Rahman and Poly don’t spend their profits as they are increasing their cash. They have planned that in future they will rent or buy a large showroom in the busy market area.

From left, Firoza Begum Poly and Ruby Rahman at their workplace with their production

Ruby Rahman is painting

Ruby rahman lost her husband last year (2006). Her husband was a govt. service holder and then she worked mere a housewife. She gave birth to a daughter (16) and a son (12). Her daughter got married when her daughter was reading in class-9 and then she was only about 12/13 years old. Ruby Rahman learned handicrafts skills from Jatiya Mohila Sangasta with her sister in law. Then she had no plan but she used to make bags with her sister in law for their relatives, neighboring women and some known persons. In the meantime she took admission at Nari Jibon where her sister in law was taking skills on Computer, English and Business management. She took admission to take skills on English and Business Management courses. Ruby Rahman studied up to class-10. Lack of practice she was very weak in English. She learned English about five months regularly and besides she participated in Business management classes. She was taking these two courses same time. At the end of these two courses her husband had died and then she could not continue study. But she informed that she learned many things from Nari Jibon office and mainly she was motivated to run her business. She learned how to develop business, keeping documentation, justifying customer’s demands, supply, market analysis etc. Almost same time she used to sell her products among the students of Nari Jibon. At the beginning she started her business as her hobby. But at the departure of her husband she felt necessary to earn money. Now she and her sister in law are working hard for marketing their goods. Now they are maintaining their family smoothly and they are satisfied with their business income.

This video has taken from their working place and house.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Bangladesh is full filled with many Natural Beauties

Written by Nurunnahar Islam Munni
Pictures taken by Mohtarimun Nahar [Bipa]

Bangladesh is full-filled with many natural beauties. She is very beautiful in every where. The vast Bay of Bengal is situated in the South of Bangladesh. The Meghna river is situated in the East. Green trees, birds chirping, yellow corn crops etc make our mind fulfill. Green trees fill up our eyes and birds chirping fill up our ears and mind.

Every day we wake up by hearing birds’ chipping. The natural scenery of village draws a general picture of thrilling. A little Jonaki Poka [one kind of insect that has natural lights in her body] helps us to see our way in the bamboo garden in the dark night. Our eyes are charmed to see many natural beauties all around us. When we go near to the Padma, Meghna, Jamuna, Cornofuly rivers then our mind become fresh and we forget all of our sorrows. The water lily blooms in the canal. White Lily is our national flower.

The local area of the East is decorated by tea gardens. A large number of green parrots come to these tea gardens and that makes the scenery more beautiful. Specially the guest birds make the scenery more beautiful. The Seasons get changing after every two months. During the summer season the whole nature remains ‘kha kha (Heated badly by sun light). The village people suffer a lot in summer season. During this time the thousand of juicy fruits are found in our country. People can fill their mind by eating different kinds of juicy fruits. Like;-Mango, Jack-fruit, pine-apple etc. After the summer season the rainy season comes. In the rainy day, some girls wear blue sharees and they remember their favorite person. In the rainy day the village farmers get together to gossip. The girls sew Nokshi Kantha (traditional blanket) on their own mind. They draw their hidden dream in this Kantha. All village old men and women pass their time by gossiping. After the rainy season, the autumn comes with a fine and clear sky and the sheuli flowers. All time the white clouds remain in the sky in this season.

In the late autumn the villagers get rashi rashi [a plenty of] golden paddy in their houses.

The villagers arrange a party for getting new crops. This party called as ‘Nobanno Utshob’(Festival of foods made by new paddy). In this party the villagers welcome their neighbors and guests by chira, murri and many kinds of pittha (home made cakes). In this way they celebrate their ‘Nobbano Utshob’. After this season the winter comes with the dew drops and trees without leaves, various kinds of pittha (home made cakes) and date juice etc. when the dew fall on the grass and the morning sun light shines on it; it looks like diamonds. The spring comes with cuckoo’s singing. Many flowers bloom in this season. I think all people like the spring season. It is called the king of the seasons. In every season Bangladesh is been decorated by different natural beauties. To me Bangladesh is the most beautiful country in the world. I love my country very much.

Two Students of Nari Jibon have Started a Business

Written and Pictures taken by M.G. Rabbany (Sujan)

Ten to fifteen years ago it was a rare case to see the women as businesswomen in the market of Dhaka city. Day by day we can see many changes in our society. G.O, N.G.O and women education make the women aware and involve them in various activities/ sectors. At present women don’t work only in their house or office now they work out of their houses too. Now women are running their business in the market, on the busy roadside and through the crowded area. Now they don’t work only under the veil, now they work like a male person. Previous days we only found some saleswomen in the shops of brand companies or their husband’s shop. But now we can see some women are running their business independently (though it is poor number in up to date). Like this two young Nari Jibon students have started a business shop at Khilgoan Chowrasta Moshjid Market.

Sultana Begum and Jannatul Ferdouse are classmates of Khilgoan Model College and Nari Jibon Project. They are also intimate friend. They both are reading in class-14 at Khilgoan Model College. Sultana took knowledge from Nari Jibon on English, Computer Ms Office Program and Hardware. Sultana also completed courses on Business Planning & Management from Nari Jibon. Jannatul Ferdouse took course on English. They are almost same aged (21-22).

Last August, 07 they have started a business jointly. They have rented a shop at Khilgoan Chowrasta which is situated near their college. They have decorated their shop very nicely. They have invested total at taka 1, 42,000/- for their business. They have to pay at taka 2000 per month as the shop rent. They sell various kinds of things for women, men and kids. Modern dresses, show pieces, hand make bags and other handicrafts etc are found in this shop.

Sultana Akter (Right) and Jannatul Ferdouse (left) are in their shop.

These bags are made at their home and now these are sold in this shop.

These bags are collected from the students’ (Poly and Ruby Rahman) of Nari Jibon
and these are sold in this shop.

Their shop is situated near their college and so good numbers of customers are their classmates and friends. Various kinds of cosmetics, show pieces, gift items and bags are found in their shop. They are also selling EID Panjabi as an EID special item.

The name of their shop is “Rongin Tara Fashion and Boutique”.
It means Color of Stars Fashion and Boutique.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Rahela Akhter Lima’s third death anniversary: has this brave young woman received justice?

On September 24, 2004, Rahela Akhter Lima’s suffering ended after nearly a month of unimaginable pain after her assailants left her for dead and then came back to torture her some more. She was a strong-willed garment worker-housewife aged only 20 years from Savar. Today marks her third death anniversary.

Has Rahela received any justice after three years by the arrests, convictions, and exemplary punishment of her assailants? Has her death and suffering made women safer in Bangladesh? Or like many other sensational cases, has Rahela been forgotten except by her near and dear ones after the initial stories and demonstrations in August and September 2004? Are her assailants still roaming freely around the streets of Savar, Jahangirnargar University, and Dhaka?

During that long month, she survived long enough to bravely name two assailants, Linton and Delwar—former college classmates--and two other miscreants—Akash and Kabir-- who took her belongings, raped her, slit her tendons and cut into her spinal cord, and left her in a Jahangirnagar University garden on 22 August. They returned on 24 August and found her still alive; they added further insult to her injuries by pouring acid on her! After three days and two nights of suffering, a gardener found her and police took her to Dhaka Medical College Hospital where she struggled against infected wounds, severed spinal cord, and paralysis until she died on 24 September.

As often occurs, despite her mother Rokeya filing a case with Savar thana, the accused men absconded, and Liton reportedly disappeared into India. Police arrested only his brother who had helped him escape. During September, many women’s and labor organizations in Savar and other locations protested violence against women, recent rapes of garment women workers, and in particular, the gruesome treatment of Rahela and that her attackers continued to roam freely (Mahila Parishad, Karmajibi Nari, Ain-O-Shalish Kendra, Samajtantrik Mahila Forum, Bangladesh Jatiya Sramik Jote, Nari Sramik Jote, Sammilita Nari Samaj, Bangladesh Legal Services Trust, and National Garment Workers Federation among others. After a 25 Sept 04 Daily Star article, no further articles appeared on her case or reported any progress on apprehending Liton and others. Rahela’s case seemingly disappeared among the articles on the September and October floods and monsoon rains as have many other cases of violence against women since then.

Given the ongoing violence against women, these organizations moved on to protest other cases and lax law enforcement. Speakers and researchers from the One-Stop Crisis Centre reported that garment workers and students are particularly vulnerable to such assaults, sexual harassment, and eve-teasings as they move about from home and work. Ironically, these women are the future and earners of Bangladesh, but still face the dangers of the streets going to and from work and school.

Despite the monthly litany of newspaper reports and clippings on violence against women in Bangladesh by various women’s and advocacy groups, who is conducting any follow up or monitoring these cases? Who is monitoring the police, prosecutors, and justice for the victims and punishment for the eve-teasers (whose actions have led to suicides among their targets), domestic abusers, rapists, and murderers? Will Rahela and any of her forgotten departed sisters ever receive justice?

Today and other years, I remember her courage to name her assailants, her strong will to live despite her injuries, and extraordinary struggle and sacrifice as I work to end violence against women, children, and men. I hope that her soul has found some peace.

Note: By Dr. Kathryn B. Ward, Professor of Sociology-Women's Studies, Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, IL USA. This piece has been based on English newspaper clippings from August and September that I collected while in the USA waiting to go to Bangladesh for my Senior Fulbright Fellowship and to conduct research on women workers and violence against women. (clippings from New Age, Daily Star, New Nation, among others—available on request). Rahela’s story touched me very much. When I left USA on 22 September 2004 Rahela was barely alive. She died some time during my journey to Bangladesh.

also crossposted on bideshi blue