My name is Shahina Akter. I am from Jaldhaka unit. I am 17 years old. My father’s name is Sahir Uddin. He is a farmer and my mother Tahmina Begum is a housewife. I live in Rothbazar village in ward 4. We are a total of 7 members in my family. I have an older sister and three younger brothers. My sister was married at a very young age. Due to poverty I had to stop going to school and stayed at home doing the household chores.
One day two representatives from CMES came to our house with a survey to enroll interested girls for computer, fashion garments, and vermicomposting training. I also learnt that the training will be given without fees and I immediately enrolled in the fashion garments course. The training is for three months, but due to COVID-19 we had to stop going to the training center. Our technical trainer and gender facilitators started training using WhatsApp group. My neighboring uncle has a smartphone. Due to the support from the Local Support Group (LSG) he agreed to let me use his phone during the training sessions. I attended many training sessions over WhatsApp with the instructor. Sometimes we went to the training center for practical classes and now I have almost completed my three months of training.
In the meantime, I bought a sewing machine with funds from a micro credit loan. I started making products at my home, including 250 cloth face masks which I distributed among my community members. I am getting better at sewing and with guidance from my instructor, I also learn from YouTube videos about different designs and trends. I believe I will be able to earn at least BDT 2,000 per month as from July 2020. I am thankful to CMES and COL for giving me the opportunity of receiving training for free, otherwise I would not have been able for me to learn new skills and earn an income.
Originally written in Bengali in June 2020
Translated by Afzal Hossain, PM, RtU project, CMES.