Her name is Royeka Begum Ruku, but people in Mymensingh town call her Ittadi Bhabi. This year, Ittadi Bhabi was selected as Joyeeta for her outstanding contribution to make herself an empowered woman besides rehabilitating distressed women by providing them employment.
Rokeya Begum and four other women have been accorded reception recently at a function with Deputy Commissioner of Mymensingh Khalilur Rahman in the chair.
Though, Rokeya Begum was not brought up in Mymensingh, improving women's empowerment in the district is now her top priority. She was born in Faridpur and her husband SG Mostafa hailed from Barisal.
She along with her family shifted to the town as her husband, who was an employee of Concern Bangladesh' was transferred to the district. Then, Rokeya was merely a homemaker.
SG Mostafa could continue his job only for one and a half years as Concern Bangladesh scrapped almost all of its projects in the district due to unavoidable reasons.
As a result, the whole family had to live a miserable life. As termination benefit, Rokeya's husband got Taka one lakh from Concern Bangladesh. Of the amount, Mostafa gave Taka 50,000 to his relative.
With the remaining Taka 50,000 Rokeya tried to explore a new arena of business with the hope of improving her family's financial condition.
She then rent a small shop in the town and started a business of handicrafts items with the help of her husband SG Mostafa in 1997. There is no doubt that Rokeya came out successful and did well in business as she is now a well-known face in the locality.
Currently, she owns a big shop known as 'Ittadi Karuponya' in Notun Bazar area of the district town. She also owns shops in Madaripur and the capital city Dhaka.
"I dared to start the business of handicrafts items as people used to praise my craft works," said Rokeya while talking to BSS recently in a cheerful mood.
She said: "Currently, a total of 150 women are working under my supervision. Apart from this, I bring handicraft items, including sari, three-pieces, from Jamalpur and Mymensingh where a good number of women are involved in the profession.
Rokeya Begum said traders from Dhaka, Madaripur and Chittagong buy handicraft items from her as she has a good reputation in the local market.
"I always try to give quality products with reasonable prices to the customers and thus clients rely on me," Rokeya added.
Thanking the government for taking different initiatives to uplift the lives of woman folk, she said: "The government has taken various initiatives to create women- friendly atmosphere in the country so that they can play an important role for country's socioeconomic development."
"The Joyeeta award will encourage women to face various challenges more confidently and become role models for the society," she further added.
Sharmin Shahjadi, programme officer of district chapter of Women and Children Affairs Department, told BSS that they had selected Rokeya as Joyeeta since she had overcome all the obstacles and established herself as a successful woman entrepreneur.
It is mentionable that women are awarded the title 'Joyeeta' by the government. 'Joyeeta Onneshone Bangladesh' -- a government initiative introduced in 2011 -- had a tremendous impact on the society on women empowerment issue.