Fatema, an aparajita who was widowed at an early age, was able to educate her two children and build a new house because of her engagement with JITA. Like Fatema's, there are numerous stories of women who have taken on the roles of aparajitas and succeeded against the greatest odds. JITA strives to serve as a conduit for marginalized women to reach their full economic and social potential through market-based forces.
Aparajitas have proven within their communities, that women are equally capable of running their own business and hence contributing equally to household savings, purchase assets and invest in micro-enterprises such as last-mile retail outlets. Beshobala, another aparajita from North Bengal, was able to overcome the taboo of divorce and regain her dignity and acceptability in society once she had become financially independent and even built her own house in her village. Stories such as those of Beshobala and Fatema are not unique to the aparajita experience and are inspirational for thousands of women in Bangladesh.
Story of struggle, hard work and perseverance of Aparajita Kanchan Bala started when her parents married her off at the age of 16. Born and brought up in a small, green and vibrant village of Saidpur district, Kanchan Bala has dedicated her youth, desire and dreams to her family –consisting of her husband, two sons and a daughter.
Early days of her married life she lived in a small house and had just a bamboo bed to sleep on. Her husband, being a day labor, was struggling to provide their children with basic needs and livelihood. Failing to come out of poverty, her eldest son dropped out of school and started to contribute to their family by working as day labor. Her daughter also got married by leaving her education in between. In desperation of holding her family strong during extreme financial crisis, Kanchan Bala started to seek out ways and sources to bring income to her family. Her first initiative was taking loans from microfinance organizations like ASA Bangladesh, Mushti Chal where she invested to lease lands and earn by cultivating crops. However, her inconsistent income during off season, flooding and drought pushed them back to financial crisis.
The greatest thing about Kanchan Bala is her undefeated soul which kept her moving forward. Without losing hope, she kept on looking for sustainable income sources when she came to know about JITA Social Business Bangaldesh Ltd, where she started to work as an Aparajita. Her profession as an Aparajita helped her not only to earn sufficient income to support her family but also to achieve social recognition and respect. While working at JITA she learned about different health, hygiene and nutrition products which improved her family’s consumption and expenditure pattern. From her earning she enlarged her house and contributed in her youngest son’s education, who recently passed HSC examination. Moreover, with her husband’s support, Kanchan Bala opened a tea stall infront of her house and also saved money for her son’s higher education. Kanchan Bala is one of the most dedicated Aparajitas in JITA whose positive spirit lights up our heart with optimism and belief. Like Kanchan Bala, we want to support and impact in many more women’s lives in the years to come.
My husband died leaving me with two young children and no money to survive. But I survived. Because I became an Aparajita.
I built my house being an Aparajita, the notion completely changed the community. Now everyone is interested in my work and many women want to become an Aparajita.
Our children frequently suffer from stomach problems, skin diseases. And we wonder why!!
– Village woman Rojna
We suffer greatly from the interrupted electricity service. Too much dependency toward daylight is taking us nowhere as it hampers our day to day job, household activities, children’s education. We don’t require a modern television for entertainment. Rather a superior lighting system is essential.
– Sharif, a young village farmer from North Bengal
I had no face in society as a divorced woman. Nobody helped me or showed me any respect. After I built my own house being an Aparijita, the perception completely changed in the community. Now everyone is interested in my work and many women want to become an Aparijitas.
– a village Aparijita
I have built my own house, sent my children to school, and earned respect.