Momota: Matriarch

Momota has been married for over 10 years, and lives with her husband and two sons on a riverine island (char) called Khockhali in Gaibandha district. Even though it has been quite some time, Momota has yet to receive her mehr (dower), a mandatory payment from the husband or his family to the wife, especially to support her in the event of his death. She was married at an early age when her education came to a halt due to the unavailability of secondary education in the char, so she was not made aware of her rights. But everything changed after she began attending courtyard sessions in Friendship’s Inclusive Citizenship programme. 

One particular evening, Momota was present during a discussion about women’s rights in regards to dower. She learnt that the dower is respectfully recoverable and it was within her full rights to claim it. Momota realized that she had to do something and couldn’t stop thinking about it, so she approached her husband. She informed him that it was mandatory for the him to pay the dower fully while he is alive and well so that she can be secured financially in case of his death. After learning this, her husband paid her dower of 50,000 taka right away.

After receiving the dower money, Momota decided to improve her financial status by engaging in cattle rearing. She also took up alternative income generation training through Friendship’s Homestead Gardening and Cow Rearing project. Since then, there was no looking back for Momota. She cultivates vegetables and sells the surplus in the market which provides additional income for her family.

Momota’s involvement with Friendship’s Inclusive Citizenship programme has not only helped her in strengthening her financial status but has also benefited her community through her social welfare activities. She ensures others receive services they need through multiple agencies working with government service providers. She also plays a strong role in various social forums in her local community. Now, Momota is an inspiration in the local community that changed her life.