Underprivileged rural women of Narsingdi have set an admirable example of self-reliance. These unemployed, divorced and distressed women, instead of giving up on life and languishing in misery, are making impressively designed bamboo-made handicraft with an eye to foreign market.
According to a report published in yesterday’s daily sun, hundreds of such women in the district are manufacturing the handicraft at home and earning a good amount per month. Their products are finding a good market in different foreign countries where they were able to attract consumers.They are making a variety of products like hamper baskets, floor mats, showpieces and rugs of different sizes. As far as can be ascertained from the photograph accompanying the report, designs of these products look very attractive.
Empowerment of women cannot be achieved only through enlarged quotas in the civil service and some other privileges. True empowerment will come only if the poor and underprivileged women in the backwater of society are enabled to become financially self-supporting.
If cane and bamboo crafts are popular in foreign markets, it is a boon not only for the poor women in Narsingdi but for the whole country. Handicraft represents a country as much as its art and literature. Interest of foreigners has already been demonstrated in our local crafts at various handicraft exhibitions and export shows. It is now time to expand the effort by involving larger number of women and finding newer markets.
Just as some NGOs are supporting the venture of underprivileged women, our missions abroad should also try to promote the homemade crafts. And why must we look only for foreign buyers? Affluent households in this country are not inconsiderable in number. These women are a symbol of self-help and resilience; they should be protected and promoted at any cost.