Kohinoor Begum, UP Member, Halsa, Natore:
With her leadership, she managed to ensure that construction of a 2 km road in Kholabaria village was corruption-free. Transportation is a key area where corruption is a challenge due to spending on materials. As a result of her monitoring, 2000 people have directly benefited from the new road. After monitoring of the education services, she found that there was a lacking of furniture in several schools, which affected the students and their ability to learn. She then arranged for 28 benches to be sent over to Fulchor Girls School, Halsa Alia Madrasa, Gokulnagar Madrasa, Nabinkrishnapur Primary School and Aawrail Primary School. About 1000 students of 5 educational institutions directly benefited from the benches. She also reformed 7 village committees and through this activity arranged for the installation of 8 tubewells, each at a cost of Tk 25000 to meet the drinking water needs of the community people. About 100 families directly benefited from the installation.
Daisy Begum, UP Member, Baktarpur, Naogaon:
With her leadership, she was able to resolve a family dispute between Srimoti Anjali Rani and Bikas Prang of Sampur village of Baktarpur Union under NaogaonSadarUpazila. Rani was a victim of domestic violence and she raised this matter to Daisy Begum through a Network of Activist Volunteers (NAV) member.
Daisy Begum discussed the matter with her colleagues, among them were her male counterparts and arranged for a Alternative Dispute Resolution. The case was taken to the village court where the UP Chairman, Nazmul Huda and UP Member AtaurRahman, UP Member, Daisy Begum and local influential people including Nazrul Islam and Sri DibosMazumdar among others were present. According to the dowry laws, if the wife is victim of domestic violence by the husband, he has to give back his dowry. Bikas was found guilty and he paid the amount of Tk 1000 and promised not to conduct this type of behavior again. The case was resolved with the initiative of Daisy Begum and was beneficial to Rani, Bikas and their families.
SEFALI 'S STORY
This is the story of Most. Shefali Begum. She lives in Changati village of Narshingdi district with her husband Md. Almas Mia. Her family consists of 7 member among them three are daughters and two are sons. Shefali's husband is the sole earner of the family as her sons are youngest among kids. Because of the educational expenses of their kids and other expenses it was hard for Almas Mia maintain all. They always had drifts because of our financial crises. One day One of Shefali's neighbors informed Shefali about the Samity in her house which called Abdul Momen Khan Memorial Foundation (Khan Foundation). Every Saturday a person from Khan Foundation comes to the Samity and talk to women about their livelihood. He advice them to earn for their family thus they can help their husband. According to him, women can generate income through tailoring work, cultivate vegetables in yard or cultivate fish by cleaning the pond and in many other ways. After attending that meeting Shefali came to home and consult with her husband about cultivating fish. At first Almas Mia not eager because this requires lot of many and they did not have that. Then his wife said Khan Foundation will lend us 5000 taka at first phase we can start our business with that money.
Next week, Shefali attended the meeting along with her husband. Khan Foundation also advised us husband that we can start our business by taking loan of 5000 taka. Then Shafi and her husband started depositing money in the Samity and after 2 months they got the loan. They started cultivating fishes with that money and regularly attended the meetings. After a year they earned good profit and paid back my loan. The year after that, they took another loan of taka 10000 and spread business in a wider range. Now they took loan of taka 50000 and paid all previous loan. According to Shefali "now we are living very happily, we do not have any financial crisis or any quarrel between us. I would like to thank Advocate RokhsanaKhondokar the executive director of Khan Foundation. If she would not initiate the loan facilities in Women Development Samity then our lives would have in total darkness."
HELENA BEGUM LIVES WITH HER DREAMS
We are telling about Most. Helena Begum whose husband is Md. HabiburRahman works as a day laborer. They have four children including three daughters and a son. They were financially very poor and their son is retard. A woman from neighborhood informed Helena about the loan facilities of women development society of Khan Foundation. Every Saturday a person from Khan Foundation comes to the Samity and talk to women about their livelihood. He advice them to earn for their family thus they can help their husband. According to him, women can generate income through tailoring work, cultivate vegetables in yard or cultivate fish by cleaning the pond and in many other ways. After attending that meeting Helena came to home and consult with her husband about starting a poultry farm.
Next week, she attended the meeting along with her husband and took loan of taka 5000 for poultry farm. They bought some chicken and after 1 month those chicken grew up and they sold them. With that money they paid back per week installment of the loan. After that Helena gradually took loan, amount of 10000, 15000 and 30000 and extends the range of the farm. According to Helena Begum '"now we do not have any financial crisis. Our children are studying regularly. I am grateful to Khan Foundation Women Samity and the executive director Advocate RokhsanaKhondokar. She is very concern about the rural women development. I pray to Almighty Allah to fulfill her wishes."
Rupa Begum a school teacher turned Public Representative
RupaBegum whose father worked in a mosque is belong to a middle class family. Itwas very hard to bear his family by his earnings. As happened in a middle class family, herfather did not like to go her out of home. However, she had passed Secondary SchoolCertificate examination inspite of her family and financial barriers. She didnot waste her education in vain. Her being attach with the education programof BRAC was a kind of bless for her whenshe had lost her husband. She beared herfamily with the money which she earned from the job of BRAC. She becamewell-known to the general people of Champak Nagar, Upazilla Bijoynagar throughher teaching prefession. She involvedherself with various social welfare works steadly such as: to aware community peoplefor education as well as to inspire them to send their children to go to schoolfor education. Because of these socialworks, her popularity to the generalpeople was being incresed.
Once upon a timea family members suggested her to participate in Union Parished Election from theresearve seats.Though at first she was not agree to participate but at last shesetted-up her mind to participate in UPelection 2011. As reward of her social works and to be a alert citizen, she waselected by the people of Champak Nagar as a UP representative for the first time. From ateacher and a social worker, now she is an elected UP representative. Tosustain in Union Parishad knowledge regarding the institution is most important.And there is no such alternative of training to be informative. She got varioustrainngs on the activities of Union Parishad and capacity building from varietyNGOs. She tried to apply these knowledge to do the works of Union Parishad. Lastfive years, she worked successfully for her community people inspite of varioushindarences.
Rupa have passedfive years of her first UP journey. The Union Parishad Election 2016 has come.This time she is much knoledgeable thenbefore. Now she is familiar regarding the electoral rules and regulation, techniqueof election campaign as well as about the expenditure also. She applied all theknowledges, techniques in the UP election 2016 which she had achived before.She was elected for the second time by the dint of her 5 years good works andfor her social involevement. Rupa Begum, from teacher to a UP respresentativefor the 2nd time is now a popular leader to the local people of Champak Nagar.
Laily wants to work independently
Herparent named her Lailyaffectionately .But their beloved daughters conjugal life did not work well. Asshe was married in an early age, her addicted husband often tortured her inhumanly.From the social responsibility, she used to protest against various in justicein her area such as: violence against women, prevent to child marriage etc.With the mentality of social welfare, she expressed her interest to participatein Union Parishad election in 2011 for the reserved seat of Tebaria Union ofNatore district. Her first obstacle came from her family when she had shown herinterest in participating in the election. Her addicted husband startedtorturing her physically due to her interest to participate in election. Butother members of her in law’s family wanted her to participate in the election.At last, with everybody’s consent, Laily decided to participate in election.
Through in the election of 2011, there was not much monetary influence,Laily’s opponent spent a lot of money. As a result Laily was defeated to thegame of money. In spite of losing in her first election, she did not lose hermental strength. She communicated with the political leaders, prepared herselfwith the training from different development organizations. During five (5)years from 2011 to 2016, she strengthens herself for the next election throughher various social activities including stopping violence against women and earlymarriage.
From 1997 to 2011, the election was held devoid of any party connectionor affiliation, but this time (2016) the election would be held on party affiliationalong with party symbol. How would be the election, would there be great dealof election cost, would there be much political influence? Laily was broodingover all these thoughts. Because of these, she made a good relationship withthe local leaders, increased mass communication as strategies of election. Shegot suggestions from local leaders to participate in the election under thesupport of ruling party. Although she did not get direct support from anyparty, she maintained good relationship with the members of all parties. Shegot the results of maintaining good relation by being elected successfully.However, Laily is now more concerned about how independently she would be ableto work in the upcoming days in the Parishad.
Nasima Akter: From Girl’s Guide to UP Member
NasimaAkter is one of the courageous women leaders who started theirjourney to be a member of UP from general seat. She was so keen to contest inthe UP election that she sold her ornaments of marriage to buy nominationpapers and also to bear the expense of election campaign. Though she could notwin from the general seat in 2003, she was successful to be a member from thereserve seat in 2011 from Tebaria Union, one of the UP’s of Natore Sadar. It was so unfortunate thatdespite working hard and doing many development works, Nasima could not win inthe 2016 election as many of her voters were intimidated and refrained to castvotes, agent was thrown out of polling stations and local political leadersgave threats. But Nasima did not loose heart and again started concentrating onwelfare activities in her locality. Even now a day, Nasima is the name ofdependency to many of the community people of the Tebaria.
From the childhood Nasima had the immense interest to seeher as leader. In this purpose, sheinvolved with Red Crescent, Girl’s Guide from the very beginning of school lifewhich enhanced her leadership. The knowledge and skills on leadership she gotfrom Red Crescent, Girl’s Guide gave her the confidence to contest from generalseat in 2003. But her journey towards the first election has not been easygoing. As a woman, Nasima faced many challenges when she started electionpreparation. When she approached her husband for the financial support she wasrebuked by the husband and advised not to contest in the election. Finding noother way, Nasima decided to sell her ornaments to meet election expendituree.g. buying nomination paper, election campaign.
Most of the male candidates used to mock at her and womenof the community were of the opinon that women should not contest from thegeneral seat. Religious leaders also spreaded negative propaganda agansit her.However, she was lucky to find a local political leader who inspired tocontinue her election campign and advised to keep good relations with politicalleaders. She acted according to the advice of political leader.
Her tension was creeping as election day was gettingcloser day by day. Finally, the most awaited day came but the day did not bringgood news for Nasima. All her dedication, money of ornaments, advice of political leader nothing could change herfate. Unfortunately Nasima was defeated by 7 votes. After hearing the resultshe became ill. But after some days she overcome the trauma of failure electionand again started working for poor and unprivileged people e.g. taking sickpatients to local hospitals and clinics, solving problmes of schools.
In between 2003 and 2011 Nasima was doing social welfareand development work. After passing a long time with the people, she felt thatthis year people will not disappoint her. With this belief, she started toprepare herself to contest in the 2011 election. But this time she contestedfrom reserve seat rather than general seat. This time the villagers of Tebariadid not disheart her. The long cherished desire of being a people’s leaderfinally came true after 8 years. The next five years for Nasima was the uniquechance to serve and fulfill the need of the community. In this time she solvedelectricity problem, repaired many roads of schools, villages etc with her owneffrort. But the relationship with the UP was never good and she had to fightwith the Chairman for her rights. She had to pass her last five years in suchunfavorable atmosphere. However she tried her best to address the need ofcommunity despite anagonistic environment in the UP.
The UP election of 2016 was knocking at the door. Withmuch confidence she started preparing for the election as reserve seat member.But she was worried and anxious about the impact of the first time partisanelection. She feared that, influence of political parties would be very high inthe current election. Her fear came true as she was threaten by politicalleaders of ruling party not to contest in the elction. But she was successfulto submit nomination as a member of Bangaldesh Nationalist Party (BNP). Shefaced many challenges during the election day. For example she was not allowedto cast her own votes, many of her voters were intimidated and refrained tocast votes, got low support from local administrations.
Like 2003, the dream of Nasima was broken again. But shedid not lose heart and confidence. Again she started doing welfare activitiesand planning how to win the next election.