SWAPNO Stories

Story of Asha: Experiencing success through Entrepreneurship

Posted on 23 Sep, 2021

Just two years back, Asha Akhter was struggling hard to make ends meet. But now, she is the only successful woman entrepreneur in her entire community. Seeing her attainment, other women are now trying to start their own business.

Originating from a small village of the Gaibandha district named Kokrahat, Asha led a happy life with her husband and one daughter. But this didn’t last long. Her husband remarried and left her with 1.5 years old daughter. Finding no other way, she returned to her parents.

Her father had a small tea stall, but he had to close the shop due to his illness. Asha was in deep trouble and thinking of how she could run her family of five. She started doing odd jobs. But this wasn’t satiating her family’s needs.

However, life gave her a second chance. One day, while returning from work, she heard about SWAPNO’s recruitment announcement. She rushed to the Union Parishad without further delay and enrolled in the local government’s public works programme.

Asha participated in various training which helped her to plan for a better future. She also participated in ROSCA’s (informal savings mechanism) and started to invest money received from ROSCA.

“After coming here, I got wages as well as money from ROSCA. I bought a goat with this money and started rearing. Apart from this, I started thinking to reopen my father’s tea-stall”- she added.

The knowledge that she gathered from small business training encouraged her to regenerate the tea-stall cum snack shop. Her initial investment was BDT 4000. From 8 am – 2 pm, her sisters managed the shop while she was at public works. After that, she operated the shop.  Gradually, she started to make a stable income from this business. Her current income is BDT 10,000 per month.

From SWAPNO, Asha learned to create multiple income sources. So, she bought chickens and started selling eggs. From this, Asha earns BDT 200 – 300 now. From one goat that she bought earlier, now she has four.

“I received training on livestock rearing, which motivated meDSC_5063 to invest money on goat and chickens. I am hopeful of making profitable return from this,” – she said.

She recently has started participating in the “fistful rice collection” activity from which she expects to make a handsome amount.

Soon after completing the public works programme, Asha will receive BDT 22,500. She plans to invest some of it in her shop. And rest of the amount will be kept in her bank as savings.

“Before joining SWAPNO, I didn’t know about savings or entrepreneurship. I barely knew about my future. But now, I know what I need to do to become successful. My daughter is four years old now. I am looking forward to giving her proper education,” – Asha said with a smile.

Asha has set an example for her village. She is the sole businesswoman who is effectively running several income-generating activities simultaneously. She is now confident enough to continue her business on her own.

SWAPNO always focuses on future employability of rural women. The project helps empowering women by enhancing their knowledge and skills, developing the network and scaling up socio-economic impact.