Now a successful small entrepreneur, Popy of Ekartara village in Naogaon district had to face extreme economic hardship in the past. Pintu, her day labourer husband, was the sole breadwinner in the family. At that time, Popy’s family had to struggle even to manage their two meals daily.
This poor family has been able to change its lot. It is now economically solvent. This happened after Popy became a member of the Ekartara Village Development Cooperatives. Initially, she took loan from the Ekti Bari Ekti Khamar (EBEK) Project and started a cattle fattening programme, which eventually turned into a fortune-changing business for her.
Popy’s family started the cattle fattening programme with only one calf and after rearing the calf, they sold it for Taka 50,000.
As the cattle fattening programme proved to be a profitable venture for them, Popy was encouraged to take more loan from the Ekti Bari Ekti Khamar programme to expand her business.
After paying off her loan, Popy is now running her cattle fattening programme with a handsome amount of money.
Alongside expansion of the cattle fattening programme, she has invested money in agricultural activities. Popy leased two bhighas of land and started cultivating vegetables, paddy and different other varieties of crops aiming to become economically self-reliant.
Talking to BSS, Popy said, “My dream has come true… I have been successful in income-generating activities, which helped my family come out of the vicious cycle of poverty.”
“Now I am sending my two children to school. I can bear all expenses to provide education to our children. I dream that they will be worthy people in society receiving higher education,” she narrated.
The government’s microcredit facility under the Ekti Bari Ekti Khamar (one house, one farm) Project has significantly changed the fortunes of thousands of rural people by helping them get rid of the ‘mohajans’ (professional money lenders).
The government established the Palli Sanchoy Bank with an aim to bring poor people in rural areas under banking services. Established in 2014, the bank has been giving seasonal loans to the rural poor for improving their livelihood.
Managing Director of Palli Sanchoy Bank Md. Akbar Hossain said, “Around 1.40 lakh members of Village Development Cooperatives have received micro-credit facility of Taka 200 crore from the bank for income generating activities”.
He said the Palli Sanchoy Bank is providing financial services to members of Village Development Cooperatives so that they can use the money for different income generating activities.
With the goal of reducing poverty by involving the poor people in various income-generating activities, the bank so far brought over 13 lakh beneficiaries of 24,000 village development cooperatives under its network.
The specialized bank has been extending collateral-free credit among the members of the Samity registered with the bank. The underprivileged poor people of the rural areas can easily get loan for the purpose of cattle- fattening, agro-based small industries, milk-cows, cottage industries, fisheries, nursery, agro-industrial parts production, producing of high- valued vegetables and spices.
Like Popy, thousands of poor people have been able to change their fates with the help of this project. One such beneficiary of the project is Md. Noya Mia. Being a member of Barguna Athargacia Village Development Cooperatives Noya Mia became financially solvent through the Ekti Bari Ekti Khamar Project.
Barguna Amtoli Upazila project coordinator Prodip Kumar said, the greatest success of the Ekti Bari Ekti Khamar project is that the rural people have come out from the vicious cycle of high interest loan of the ‘Mohajons’ (professional money lenders) and NGOs.
Besides, lending loans to the poor families, the Palli Sanchoy Bank is providing loan facility to the widows, divorced women and youths to help them become self-reliant.