Jobeda Khatun: Rising Against All Odds

For several years, Jobeda remained in abject poverty. Her first child was born to every financial disadvantage, seeing as there were no options available to him. His father, a day labourer, could not add much to the household, and Jobeda, uneducated and married as a teenager in 1988, had no opportunities herself. The day labourers in the area had very little economic or educational opportunity of their own, and were often exploited by the influential who paid no heed to their suffering. To put it simply, Jobeda was sure her fate was to suffer a life of misery and want.

In October of 2011, she took a loan of Tk.2000, which she used to start a vegetable garden. She sold her vegetables at the market, making enough to pay off her installments as well as a tidy profit. She used that to buy a goat, and then even bought some land to cultivate wheat, taking training on wheat cultivation under Friendship’s Sustainable Income Generating Project. Before she knew it, she had made Tk. 9000, which was more money than she had ever seen in her life. She was so happy that she had tears in her eyes.

Spurred on by her success, she took another loan of Tk. 15,000 to cultivate maize. She used the profits off its sales to buy a cow, which she fattened for 6-7 months and sold again for a significant profit. She had very quickly grown a keen business sense, and she was far from settling down.

Using all her gained experience, she decided to expand her cultivation even further, and bought livestock for milk which she both used for herself and sold at the market. With an additional loan of Tk. 20,000 from Friendship, her husband managed to not only irrigate their own land, but also their neighbour’s. In addition, Jobeda sold one of the fattened goats to pay for her eldest daughter’s wedding, and managed to send her son to school.

Jobeda’s household now has everything that she could ever dream of, her line of credit extending to tens of thousands at any given time. She inspired all the other villagers, the women in particular, to believe in themselves and strive for better with hard work and determination, regularly seeking her advice in seeking opportunities to better their livelihoods.

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