When The Hunger Project-Bangladesh asked Apurbo, 36, the key to his success he said, smiling: “I read a sentence on a training banner – “A Self-Reliant Man Cannot Remain Poor” – and that made me think, how is that possible?”
Apurbo was born in Durbadanga Union Parishad, a rural collection of villages near the western border of Bangladesh. His parents were farmers with limited incomes, but held great hope that their son would receive a quality education and obtain a good job. However, after completing his secondary school certificate, financial constraints meant that Apurbo couldn’t continue his studies. He spent most days helping his father in the fields or hanging out with his friends, with limited hope for better prospects.
Then, in 2013, Apurbo met a union coordinator with The Hunger Project, Amor Kanti Roy, who described The Hunger Project’s programs for building self-reliant communities and inspired Apurbo to participate in the Animator Training program arranged by The Hunger Project-Bangladesh. There, Apurbo saw a training banner with the words: “A Self-Reliant Man Cannot Remain Poor.” Through training, Apurbo learned that individual and community change stemmed from a commitment to social responsibility.
After completing training, Apurbo started farming fish in his small pond. Within a year, he earned 50,000 Bangladesh Taka (BDT) by selling the fish he raised. In 2014, Apurbo attended a second skills training program on producing fertilizer from compost and organic manure, after which he began producing his own fertilizer, lowering the costs of farming and greatly reducing his reliance on toxic pesticides.
Today, Apurbo is self-employed and thriving, a product of his hard work and continued hope for a better future. His family is no longer as financially vulnerable, due to profits from his farm. With other like-minded neighbors, Apurbo formed the Lily Ganagabesana Samity, a local collective that raises money to distribute loans to the needy and poor, or to small-business owners and entrepreneurs, and aims to reduce reliance on NGOs. There are about 50 members in the samity, most of them women between 20 and 55 years old. The members deposit BDT 20–50 per month and have so far raised BDT 50,000. Together, the samity members also intend to implement skill development, employment creation, and awareness building activities for their community, inspired by the work done by The Hunger Project-Bangladesh and their community partners.
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Celebrating the Power of Youth in Bangladesh: Active Citizens Achieves Summit