On Wednesday 20th September 2017, a small group of volunteers from the Conservative Friends of Bangladesh, were taken to the outskirts of Cox’s Bazar organised by BRAC to understand how micro finance programme works for Bangladeshi women. The project was part of Project Shapla 2017 delegation with MP’s: Anne Main, Paul Scully and Will Quince MP.
During our journey, I met women who were delighted to share their stories. Jahanara was very proud to share her story on her achievements utilising one of the small micro finance loans provided by BRAC. The dhabi loan provided Jahanara the investment to build her home and she was keen to show her asset, the cow she bought too.
The skills Jahanara developed were shared by the coordinator from BRAC. Jahanara explained what steps she had taken to secure her asset and improvements to her home.
I had the opportunity to talk to the other women on the benefits of having micro finance loans and the segments they had selected for themselves.
The improvements to Jahanara’s home alongside her asset was an outcome pleased to see. Jahanara developed business skills and self-confidence, it was rewarding to see her smile continously.
Some of the Bangladeshi women in the group talked about their dry fish business expanding, and their vegetable stock. Tanzina, from BRAC outlined the Dabi products delivered via the ‘village organisations’ (VOs); a community lending and savings groups of 15-25 women, the financial training and women’s empowerment in the household.
Jahanara and the rest of the Bangladeshi women made volunteers very welcome. It was fantastic to see such engaged Bangladeshi women with independence.
Parveen Hassan: Head of Communications, Conservative Friends of Bangladesh