Her name is Anjuara Begum and she is something of a pioneer in her village north of Lahiripara. Looking at her happy and triumphant face, one can see that talent, hard work and dreams are what makes her go on. Not only that, Anjuara says she has a great love for what she does.
“I always dreamt that I would pull myself up”, she says, “I kept on working. I am a woman. My father married me off at a young age. My household with my husband was poverty-stricken. We didn't have any property. My husband used to work on other people's land. But now the bad days are over.” Now she is the owner of “Anjuara Chhana Ghor” and speaks with a confidence she didn't have before. She started making curds with only 10 kg of milk daily. Now she makes about 100-120 kg of curds a day. She makes about 5 kg of kheer. She makes between 1 to 1 ½ of ghee. This is a skill she had learnt in her childhood from her paternal grandfather, but at the time it was only for fun. Now it is her livelihood. Anjuara's husband used to sell milk at a hotel in the city. So Anjuara talked to her husband and got him interested in helping her sell the curds. The standards of the curds were high so sweet shops started demanding more of it. Anjuara has not looked back since. Her days changed. Her husband Abdur Razzak has stopped selling milk. He is now cultivating on rented land. Anjuara sells her curds to the best sweet shops in Bogra. Sometimes she will take orders. Nowadays she requires 500 kg of milk every day. 500 kg of milk is necessary to produce 100 kg of curds. Previously, she used to buy milk from calf owners at a rate of Tk 16 per kg. Now she has bought four Australian calves herself.
Anjuara now employs 10 people. These 'doals' (those who milk) work on monthly contracts every day from 8 to 3. They work all year round. Now, besides what she gets from her four calves, Anjuara purchases 60-70 thousand taka worth of milk from outside. She makes a 300-500 taka profit daily. She says it's not “hard work”. She is very happy to do what she does. When we went to visit her we saw that she and her husband were unloading 10 sher of hot milk and in two large containers were fresh curds. The process of the stirring and cooling was interesting to watch.
There are two types of curds. Sari- which is made from milk. The other type is kop. This is mixed with a bit of batter. Her curds sell for 100-120 taka. With the cream that
she gets from producing curds, she makes ghee.
Throughout Anjuara's life, her two children have helped her come where she is now. Besides committing to their studies, they have given their mother full support. The older son studies philosophy in Bogra Government Azizul Haq University. The younger son is mentally challenged but has done some studies.
She used to be landless, but Anjuara is now the owner of 7 bighas of land. She lives in a tinshed. To supplement her income and to distribute the curds, she has bought two CNGs. She still has a lot of dreams. Her social status has changed. Her skill, experience and competence has gone up. Her curds are being sold not just in Bogra, but also in Sirajganj, Chittagong, Sylhet and other places. She is teaching some unemployed people how to make curds. The local madrassah and primary school committees call upon her to participate and sometimes be a chief guest.
“Anjuara Chhana Ghor” is now well known in her region. Anjuara Begum proudly stands as yet another woman to demonstrate it is indeed possible for a woman to pull herself up out of nowhere and succeed in business .
(R) thedailystar.net 2007