SWAPNO Stories

SWAPNO brings out the best version of myself – Farida, a successful entrepreneur

Posted on 19 Nov, 2020

What comes to our mind when we think of a meat-seller? Yes, a man cutting, packaging and selling meat to people. But what if a woman doing all these activities efficiently? Farida Begum, a successful entrepreneur from SWAPNO project, has transformed her life through working as a meat-seller.

Among five siblings, Farida was the second. Her father was a day laborer. Like other extreme poor families, her parents faced severe level of hardship. She had dreams to complete her studies but due to financial crisis, she was married to Md. Ansar Ali of nearby village. She was only 12 years old then. However, things went well for some years. After some years, her husband got sick and the doctors told that her husband had cancer. Farida tried to provide all sorts of treatment but still her husband died. Her life became filled with sheer darkness.

“I had a tough time after my husband died. I started working as a maid to feed my children. Many people advised me to get married again, but I promised myself to become self-reliant and raise my children properly” – she said. Farida was working hard to run her family. But with a meagre income, it was truly difficult for her to bear all expenses. At that time, she came to know about SWAPNO.

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“While returning from work, I heard an announcement of recruiting divorced/widowed/separated women who will work in public works program. So, I went to Union Parishad to know details about it. They assessed my documents and finally, I got the job through lottery process” – she added. Farida’s life gradually got changed after joining SWAPNO. She saved a certain amount after working at public works program and started receiving trainings on various income generating activities. Soon, she showed her interest in selling clothes. So, she started door to door clothes selling service. But after some time she realized that having one business is not enough to run her family.

“I understood that single source of income is not enough to feed my family properly. So, I decided to discuss with my nephew about this who works in Dhaka. He suggested me to start selling of chicken. What I need to do is buying chicken from local market, cutting, dressing and storing the chickens in freezer and he will collect and sell those chickens in Dhaka. I liked his idea and start doing the work”– she said.

Farida started selling chickens apart from clothes. She and her nephew are jointly doing this business now. Her present capital is now above BDT 70,000 from both business. With the profit, she has repaired her house and bought a TV. Now she can take proper care of her son. “I had no identity before graduating from SWAPNO. SWAPNO has changed me and brought out the best version of myself. I can now proudly introduce myself as a successful entrepreneur.” – she said with a winning smile.

Like Farida, there are many other rural women who are now economically empowered with the support from SWAPNO. They are the warriors who stand for their own self amidst all barriers. SWAPNO feels proud to be a part of their lives. Since 2014, Strengthening Women’s Ability for Productive New Opportunities (SWAPNO) has been working as a social transfer project for ultra-poor women to be engaged in multi-dimensional income generating activities that are essential in the economic and social lives of rural communities.