Women Chapter: I am Aleya Begum (48) and I am from Ayla Chandkhali village, which is under Kajirabad Union of Betagi Upazila. My husband Shahjhan (late) was a physically disabled person. I inherited 4 decimal lands from my father. I never went to my in law’s home. I along with my daughter used to work as a maidservant and by doing this I managed my family.
We were hardly able to eat either once or twice in a day. Once my daughter grew up it was hard for me to maintain my family and bear the cost of my husband’s treatment. I started to work as a maid in daytime and at night, me and my daughter started to grow vegetables in the yard of our home and in the land of others as well. I began working as a fisher and tried to keep up my family by selling fish. By selling vegetables I could manage the family needs and bear the cost of my husband’s treatment. I saved money, which I earned from fishing.
With this savings, I managed the cost of the marriage of my daughters. It was somehow possible for me to keep a family of two with my earning but after 4 years my elder daughter along with her two kids returned to my house as the daughter was abandoned by her husband. It was impossible for me to manage a family of 5 members. After one and half-year my younger daughter along with a kid (like the elder one) returned to our home. Then I became helpless. Then I started to work in other people’s home and tried to manage my household by taking loans from others.
I tried to avail some sort of government services, but I couldn’t as these services were only given to male farmers in our area. In this perilous poverty, finding no way out to feed my family, I was taken under the ‘Re-Call’ project of the NGO named Jago Nari.
In the year 2011 I received BDT 10,000 taka from Jagonari to buy a boat and net. With this money I made a small boat and bought some nets and begun fishing in the nearby canals. I used to catch fish at night and used to work as maid servant during the daytime and I also worked as a sharecropper and started to grow vegetables. I grew different types of vegetables, like: lau(Bottle Gourd), shim(Beans), pui shak(Indian Spinach), potato, lal shak(Red Amaranth), cucumber etc. I kept some vegetables for my family and sold the rest of vegetables in the market. Aster this I faced progress in my life.
My husband passed away one year ago. Now I maintain a family of 6 members by fishing and cultivating vegetables. I have also taken some land as lease. I have full control over these lands. I think now I am in a better position due to the facilities provided by Jago Nari. I have heard that women gets facilities from government and if we can avail these facilities- like loans from the government, then it would be possible for us to progress”.
I dream that I will be able to manage my household properly and I will buy land for home and eventually I will buy a big boat and net.
Like me, many people of this area have begun fishing to maintain their family. Now a day, I give advice to many women of the village on fishing and my advices are making changes in the lives of these women.