I am Nurnahar Lipi. I am 18 years old. I am from Sabujpara village in Deuty. I am a fashion garments trainee in Deuty Unit under the RtU Scaling-up project. We are 4 siblings, 3 sisters and one brother. My two sisters are already married off, they were married at a young age. My father is a farmer and my mother a housewife and it was not possible for them to bear the educational expenses of all of us. Therefore, I’m paying my tuition myself and carrying with my educational expenses. Currently I am studying in class 11th.
As the financial state of my parents was not well, I was very worried about how to carry forward my education. I have to pay my tuition as well as my other expenses. So I was wondering what else I might do to increase my income so that all of my expenses could be carried by myself. At that time, I came to know about the RtU project of COL under which skills training on various trades like fashion garments, computer, vermicompost, solar LED, mobile servicing etc. are provided. Considering the local demand for fashion garments trade I decided that I will take training on fashion garments. During the door to door survey and other awareness raising campaigns of RtU project I got myself enrolled in the training. I participated in the training for three months and learned how to make some clothing items like petticoat, blouse, Punjabi, etc.
After completing the training, I thought of starting my own business, but I had no start-up capital. I managed to save some money and my older brother also gave me some money, but it was not enough to buy a sewing machine and other materials. Then, I consulted with the job counselling and placement team of the RtU project. And they suggested and helped me to obtain a microloan. I took a loan of 5000 from the microloan initiative of CMES and bought a sewing machine and other materials to start my business in my house. My neighbors became my customers and ordered petticoats, blouses and other outfits from my business. Then I started discussing with my trainer what else I could do because I needed to reach more customers. My trainer advised me to start an online business. So, I took initial training on online business especially business through social media like Facebook.
Then, I opened a Facebook page and uploaded my products in that page. Many of my friends and others started to notice my posts. I got some orders over phone from other villages and Unions. This helped me increase my income. I do my online business through my mobile phone. I also add other girls and women in my online business, and we are currently jointly running the business to meet the demands of the customers. Other girls like Ruzina Akter, Mursheda Akter, Tamanna Akter work with me. They all have taken training from the RtU project. Now my monthly income is around BDT 7,500 and I can afford all my expenses. My family members are very happy now. They are encouraging me to expand my business so that I can have my own shop in the Deuty bazar market. I am grateful to CMES and the RtU project for giving me a chance to be both economically and socially empowered as well as self-reliant.
Originally written in Bengali
Translated by Afzal Hossain, Project Manager, RtU Project, COL, CMES.