Poverty in rural areas can be reduced by creating more jobs for women, said Jahera Khatun, a borrower of Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation from Nilphamari.
“Women will be empowered if the government creates jobs for them.”
Jahera, who provided nine women with employment, shared her success story at a discussion on “the ultra-poor: their current situation and path forward”.
PKSF and the Agriculture Labourers' Rights Forum organised the event at the PKSF office in the capital.
“I took Tk 3,000 from PKSF. I gave Tk 1,500 to my husband and bought local chickens with the rest,” she said.
“I repaid the loan by selling eggs and chickens, for which the PKSF later selected me for training on how to make mats.”
Now she leads a team of nine women, who make mats to be self-reliant.
Rubi Akter, a cleaner from Gabtoli in Dhaka, urged the government to develop a marketing system to enable the poor to sell their handicrafts.
Rubi, who makes clay ornaments, also called for establishing a school for the cleaners in Gabtoli.
“We work for six months a year and remain jobless for the rest of the time,” said Champa Begum, a farmer from Manikganj.
Akter Layek, a physically challenged worker, emphasised establishing a disability-friendly workplace.
The government should create more jobs for the disabled, Layek said.
The ultra-poor people should be provided with more jobs to eliminate poverty by 2030, participants said.
“Only microcredit cannot reduce poverty. We should create more jobs for the ultra-poor," said Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, chairman of PKSF.
“We have taken multidimensional steps to create jobs through different types of trainings for the ultra-poor,” Ahmad said.
Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said the government focuses on creating jobs for the ultra-poor women to empower them.
Poverty should not exist anywhere in the country by 2030, the minister said, adding that Bangladesh will gain the status of a middle-income country in the next five years.
PKSF designed a microcredit programme for the ultra-poor with low interest rates and flexible repayment methods, according to the lender.
The programme reaches many ultra-poor people living in coastal regions, haor, char, draught and flood prone areas.
Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu and Social Welfare Minister Syed Mohsin Ali also spoke.