Outline of a Designer
A school teacher, Shahanara Rashid Jharna has managed to establish herself as a fashion designer. She's doing well; she is earning enough to support her family and send her son to a private university. Now, within her own locale, Jharna is a name known to many. In fact, her reputation has spread within the entire district of Kushtia.
In her youth, Jharna had never thought that her interest in clothing designs could actually become a career, and a fulfilling one at that. Now, people come to her to get her consultation on dresses, saris, tablecloths and bed sheets. She has done a lot of work for free.
In 1983, Jharna got married to her husband Aminoor Rashid, who is a banker. She herself was a teacher at the Kushtia Mission Primary School. They have only one son. Things were going quite well for them financially, but they fell on hard times after Jharna's husband fell into some trouble and his salary was held back at work. Jharna had to find ways to get around this problem.
“I was forced to get into designing professionally when I needed money for my son's education back in 2002,” Jharna said. Her son Shanoor Rashid Shuvo is a third year student of Bachelor of Fine Arts at the University of Alternative Development
Jharna started her company “Mouly” in 2002 in order to work together with women from all over the district. In 2003, the social welfare department officially registered Mouly.
Now, at least 350 women are working in Jharna's company. Jharna takes orders from different parties or individuals. Once she finishes the design work, her employees do the sewing work. Jharna handles the designing of clothing for both men and women. Her company is particularly good at work on nakshi kantha.
Jharna says she is busy supplying her dresses and nakshi kanthas to different shops in and around Kushtia. Several women's organizations in Dhaka also regularly use her services.
Jharna said that every month she pulls in revenue of about Tk. 30,000 to 35,000. After paying her workers, she is left with a profit of about 8,000.
Jharna also enjoys literature. She used to edit three little magazines named Shako, Shejuti and Priyo. She has received a number of awards from literary and social organizations. Some of them are Monajatuddin Sriti Puroshkar from the Monajat Sriti Parishad in Rongpur, Sukanto Golden Padak from the Shadhinata Academy in Dhaka, Shrestha Chharakar Padak from the Sylhet Chhara Parishad in Sylhet, Sreshtha Chharakar Padak from the Chharar Dak Potrika in Satkhira and the Srestha Patra Lekhika Puroshkar from Channel-I.
Jharna has also written a book of poems- Shopner Gangchil, published in 2003. Another book of rhymes is likely to come out soon.
Furthermore, she is involved with at least 15 different social and cultural organizations. She is currently general secretary of the cultural organization Tri-Didha.
(R) thedailystar.net 2007