The power of a simple idea | The Daily Star
11:00 PM, September 11, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:00 PM, September 11, 2009


The power of a simple idea

Ultra-poor women's life gets a Midas touch

IN the business world just how many weighty, pompous, complex and impractical ideas of running an enterprise have vanished as quickly as they popped out -- there is simply no count of it. At the other pole, there would be a lost list of anti-poverty initiatives wilting before the surge of newer ideas, those too failing to take root, far less branch out.
But here is a breath of fresh air from one of the simplest of ideas that has clicked ingeniously with multiple dividends pouring out of it. Like all auspicious and big tidings, this one too had a small beginning. Who is at the centre of the story is difficult to pinpoint. There are many agents and players that got enmeshed in a whole range of a catalytic process yielding handsome benefits all round.
Jahora Bewa, a woman in sixties of Ganga Narayan village in Rangpur was abandoned by their sons and pushed into begging saw little else than darkness enveloping her whole being. At her age, she only looked to be sentenced to destitution until death. It was then that she came in contact with a woman supervising manual tupi-making by a few villagers. She joined the vocation and never looked back since.
She was to soon run a factory of her own. Then the catalysis set in; today 3500 poor women of ten villages including school and college girls are earning money by knitting tupis for a factory run by Abdul Awal, an expatriate Bangladeshi businessman in Oman. Basically, he is the chief catalyser because he saw a great potential for tupi manufacture given the active demand for the light, slightly longish and ornately embroidered headgear in the Oman market. Now, he brings orders, places them with local knitters, who supply with a great flourish.
Sometime ago, we learned of a roaring export success notched up by locally made tiles by an enterprising group in Satkhira. With little imagination, research and drive we could go beyond all these. The multiple dividends derivable from such ventures should inspire all concerned into replicating them on a wide scale.

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