Financial literacy changes lives of rural women
Just a year ago Razia Sultana doubted her ability to start a business to supplement the income of her family in Comilla's Mainamoti.
But a daylong training and a small loan from non-government development organisation BURO Bangladesh helped her overcome shyness and inspired her to do much more than just household chores.
She now runs a grocery shop in Durgapur village and is making profits.
“I am helping to meet my family's expenditures. This dream has come true for gaining financial literacy,” said Sultana, particularly mentioning how her husband was proud of her success.
Among the women who took the training on business risk management and other issues, at least 15 have become entrepreneurs. Nargis Begum runs a shop similar to Sultana's, Ruzina Begum a chotpoti shop and Jhorna Begum one serving meals of rice and whole wheat bread or roti.
Another took up fish cultivation while one widow bought two CNG-run auto-rickshaws and now rents those out.
All of them voice the same: that they have gained the confidence to open and run a business.
“We want to continue this programme so that rural women become successful entrepreneurs by analysing risks of businesses,” said Zakir Hossain, executive director of BURO Bangladesh.
He said they provided financial and non-financial services to 1.6 million families across the country.
Apart from its own programme, BURO Bangladesh has partnered with the corporate social responsibility activities of MasterCard Worldwide to provide training to 150,000 such female entrepreneurs in four phases since 2013.
“We want to involve rural women in business activities so that the economy can go ahead at a fast pace,” said Syed Mohammad Kamal, country manager of MasterCard Bangladesh.