Skills training has given me the opportunity to contribute to my community during COVID-19


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.

Shahina distributing face masks to community members
   Shahina distributing face masks in her community

Originally written in Bengali in June 2020
Translated by Afzal Hossain, PM, RtU project, CMES.