Trained by Jagoroni, which has a showroom in Dhaka, women make dolls and other small handicrafts using jute and other plant fibres. The initiative, which started in 1968 by Sister Lilian and Sister Michael Francis of the Associates of Mary Queen of Apostles, initially trained and hired underprivileged women to make rope, twine, and bags. Sister Lilian would then sell these door-to-door on foot, as the organisation could not afford transport. Today, the products made by around 3,000 female entrepreneurs working at Jagoroni are sold both at home and abroad, while allowing them to make a living and support their families. Around 30 women also live in the hostel set up by Jagoroni near its handicrafts showroom and training centre. An initiative that began more than half a century ago is still empowering women to earn a dignified living today.
Photo: Prabir Das