The residents of two villages in Sadullapur upazila of Gaibandha district have found their way to economic solvency making colourful, embroidered hand fans that are very popular among villagers near and far in the hot summer months.
The people of the two villages, Araji Sandiapur and Khamaripara, have learned how to overcome poverty by making hand fans.
They have successfully become self-reliant and meet the expenses of their households, children's studies and other expenses with the money they get from selling the hand fans.
There is no difference between the males and females as both are involved in making hand fans. People of all ages are putting their efforts, emotions and feelings into making the traditional embroidered hand fan.
Once poverty was a constant companion of the people of the two villages but now they have learned how to overcome poverty. In summer and in winter they are engaged in making hand fans and they do not have time to sit idle.
Some 200 families of the two villages are involved in making and marketing the hand fans in the two villages and already the villages have become known as ‘hand fan villages’ to locals.
Talking with some villagers including Shamsul Islam, his wife Rokeya Begum, Rekha Rani, Sharifa Begum, Dulali Begum, Shahera Begum, Anwara Begum and Golesta Begum of Araji Sandiapur village, they said they make the fans and sew them with colourful threads to make them attractive.
Sometimes, the males of the villages are involved in selling the hand fans by visiting many villages on foot in hope of earning extra money.
The work of making hand fans starts in summer and maximum sales take place during the hot season in the country when people need it most.
Abdul Latif, a member of Jamalpur union, said the Bujruk and Rasulpur unions in Jamalpur have been known as the hand fan villages locally.
Those who are involved in making the hand fans are having a busy day collecting bamboo, weaving threads and in needle work the whole day and demand of the hand fans in the areas is high during summer.
During a recent visit in Araji Sandiapur, this UNB correspondent said the women and men of all ages were busy making hand fans. Someone was busy cutting bamboo, someone was weaving thread, someone was cutting clothes and someone was sewing clothes with many colorful designs.
Some 1200-1500 hand fans are being built in the village every day and they spent Tk 17-40 per piece of hand fan.
The hand fan is being sold at Tk 25 per piece in different haats and bazaars and many shops in the district.
They can earn quite a lot. The people of the two villages have brought solvency in their families by making and selling fans. Many people have become self-reliant by making hand fans.
Asma Khatun, a hand fan maker, said “I have made the hand fans with many designs and my husband sold it in many markets. I hardly get any time after doing my household work and fan work. Now I earned extra money to meet the demand of my family.”
Rabiul Karim Dulu, chairman of Rasulpur union, said “We are so proud with the works of the two villages as no other men and women have passed their time in sitting idle and everyone is engaged in making hand fans.”
Rabindra Chandra Roy, assistant director general of Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC), Gaibandha, said “Any kind of assistance will be provided to the people of the two villages ranging from manufacturing to marketing, if needed. Efforts will be taken to provide training and ensure easy loan.”