Fair trade success for Rupali in Bangladesh
Rupali Begom, aged 37, lives with two children in her parents’ home in rural Bangladesh. Eight years ago, her husband abandoned her and the children, leaving her struggling. “Having no alternative, I bound to back to my parents’ house with my kids and began living with them for seven years ” recalls Rupali with tears in her eye, “many days I faced starvation and managed to find food to feed my children.”
“We were completely dependent on my elderly father’s income which was not enough to look after all us five members. So I was searching for a way to help my father fighting against poverty.” She continued saying. A volunteer from Islamic relief went to her and explained about the Right to Income and Protection project (RIP). She eagerly joined the project with a group of other women in June 2012.
As part of the project, Rupali works in textiles, producing fair trade prayer mats and shawls, which are later sold on. Rupali is now able to support her father with the expenses of the household, and provide for her children. She feels happy that she is able to share the burden with her father, and her children are no longer struggling. Her son has now completed twelfth grade, while her daughter is in primary education. She says: “Fair-trade inspired us to do better and has encouraged us to take future challenges. It could be a role model for fair wages.”
Rupali eagerly tells other women about the project, and many of these have also enrolled onto the project, working to improve their lives
Fair-trade inspired us doing better and encourage us to take the future challenges. It could be a role model for fair wages.
Rupali happy to see her children are well educated and she will also be continuing to do this work as long as her health enables her to do so. She says:
“Adversity is running away from my family. My son and daughter are growing up with education. My parents are happy with our activities. Neighbours look upon us with respect. I haven’t enough tension now which was my daily company.”