Pushpo Rani is economically empowered

January 27th, 2015

Bangladesh is extremely vulnerable to climate change because of its geographical location. Coastal areas in Bangladesh are highly vulnerable to climate change impacts, such as, cyclones and tidal surges, salinity intrusion, sea level rise, coastal flooding and water logging. Shrimp cultivation in the salinity prone coastal area became the dominant livelihoods measure since mid-eighties. But, cultivation on the same land for a long time along with rapid salinity increase caused severe decrease in production, while crop cultivation is not possible due to high salinity in soil. This has caused acute employment problems and increased poverty in the coastal area.

pushpaThe devastating Cyclone Sidr (2007) and Aila (2009) killed over 16,000 people and devastated millions of people’s lives and livelihoods. The coastal people still have not recovered. Practical Action Bangladesh undertook some interventions with support from the Asian Development Bank in the south-western Shyamnagar and Kaliganj Upazilas (Sub-districts) of Satkhira District.

Ms. Pushpo Rani (from Atulia UP, Shyamnagar) lives with her husband and two children. She is a tailor and had been making bags out of plastic for the last 2/3 years with support from Sushilan–a local NGO. Her husband also works with her part of his time. Their earnings were poor from bag making. Because of her skills and experiences, she was provided with support for ‘smart bag making’ and accordingly, started working since Jaisthya (mid-April 2012) last.  The bag is of thin cotton and synthetic cloth. It can be folded and kept in a pocket, office bag or vanity bag like a money bag/key holder.  Along with tailoring, she has a business of making printed cloth. Now, they employ 50% of their time making bags and the other 50% for tailoring at home.

Ms. Pushpo Rani prepares ‘smart bags’ of two qualities- one with good quality cloth,  the other with slightly lower quality cloth. The better quality cloth costs Tk.50/yard, while the lower quality cloth costs Tk. 25/yard. She produces 2 bags with 1 yard of lower quality cloth, and 4 bags with the better quality cloth. So, for each Tk.50/-, she prepares 4 smart bags  of better and lower quality bag. She sells the better quality bag for Tk. 30-35 each (but mostly for Tk.30/-), and the lower quality bag for Tk.20-25 each and makes a profit of Tk.120/for the better quality one,  Tk.80-100 for the lower quality one. These are profitable. They have the capacity to produce more bags, but, there is insufficient demand in the local market. The demand, however, is gradually increasing as they are trying to contact shopkeepers at growth centres around Nawabeki and Munshiganj including Shyamnagar- the Upazila headquarters. They have a plan to produce more bags and expand the market, if there is higher demand. They are able to produce 15-20 bags every day/each i.e. 30-40 bags together/day.

Since scope for income earning is poor in the area due to salinity increase and wide scale shrimp cultivation, the ‘smart bag’ making with an outside market chain could be a good option for household based income generating. Ms. Pushpo has been contributing significantly to increasing her household income, which, is expected to lift her out of poverty.


One response to “Pushpo Rani is economically empowered”

  1. Rezaul Haque Says:

    good attempt. But there is a huge incorrect information in this blog. The human deaths for the cyclone Sidr and Ayla were around 3,500, not 16,000. Hope this will be corrected.

Leave a reply