“Now I do not pass the night without food and my other family members can eat full meals at night…nights without food are gone from our lives, we are happy.”
Rejeya Khatun is from Naopara, a village in the Meherpur district of Bangladesh. She was born and grew up in a lower middle class family. Her father was the only family member earning an income, through farming. Her parents had wanted to educate their daughter, but were unable to, due to their financial situation. They therefore arranged for her a marriage to a young man in their village. Rejeya’s new husband was not yet employed, and struggled to put food on the table. When thinking about how to improve her situation, Rejeya shared her story with a friend, asking for her suggestion.
After hearing Rejeya’s story, her friend Morjina Khatun (a Hunger Project “Animator,” or trained volunteer leader, in her village) advised Rejeya to get involved with The Hunger Project as a member of the a PAR (Participatory Action Research) group, or in a skills training, such as sewing and tailoring. After hearing of the opportunities, Rejeya built a vision in her mind and shared her ideas with her husband. She then went to a training center to participate in a six-month sewing and tailoring training. During the training period, with the support of her husband, she started to take work orders for small jobs. After the end of her training she started working full-time with the support of her husband.
Within a few days she become very popular in the village, and increased her customer base. Soon after, other unemployed women who were struggling to feed their families came to her to develop their skills in sewing and tailoring in order to increase their household incomes as well. After hearing their stories, Rejeya agreed to train them for free. At least eight women have received training from Rejeya and are now able to earn a living using the skills that she taught them. Rejeya has not limited her work to tailoring; she also raises animals for meat and dairy, and grows vegetables in her garden.
Since becoming involved with The Hunger Project in her village, Rejeya has a regular income and her family no longer struggles to find food. Her husband has also since been employed. Their daughter is growing up with adequate food, health care and in a good environment. Rejeya is an active member of the Ward Action Team in her community, and also a member of the Gono Gobeshana Samity.