Volume 2 Issue 46 | December 6, 2008 |


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From Rangamati

Business with Baby

Star Insight spoke to the entrepreneur Baby Chakma about her thoughts on business.

Baby Chakma is a tribal woman from the Rangamati area. In 1988 there was a conflict that occurred between the Bangladesh Army and Shanti Bahini. In that time Baby's family lived in the Ghilchari area of Marisha thana. Due to the riot they lost their home and they had to hide out in the forest for one month. After that they came to Rangapani, a small village of Rangamati. Their husband somehow managed a job to take care of the family. She could not manage her family well with the limited income of her husband. Baby got worried because her family was growing. She got worried thinking of her children's future. To increase their income she wanted to do something but she had no money to do anything. But she didn't lose her confidence. She started thinking about doing something.

She heard about the Integrated Development Foundation (IDF) loan programme from her neighbour. She decided to take a loan. She became a member and borrowed Tk. 3000 for the first phase and set up a shop in front of her house. Every year she took new loans and invested in her grocery shop. In the 4th phase she took Tk.15,000 and invested it in poultry farms and in the 6th phase she got Tk. 20,000 which she also invested in that farm. By that time Baby bought a cow and she found that it was more profitable than poultry. Then she decided to leave the poultry business and started a dairy farm. In the 7th phase she got Tk. 60,000 and bought two cows. Now she has 7 cows and gets 20 kg of milk every day and sells it to her neighbours and local market. Baby heard about biogas and took training on “Grameen Shakti” and started using cow-dung from her dairy farm to produce biogas. Now she is using biogas for daily cooking. Not only that, she sells the compost of the biogas and gets twenty five thousand taka annually. She has ideas. She also grows grass in her land for cow's food. Her future plan is to set up a big dairy farm and to create job opportunities for poor people. She also does tailoring work and earns Tk. 1200 every month from it. Moreover every winter season; she cultivates mushrooms and makes Tk. 40,000. Now she has established herself as a successful entrepreneur in the Rangamati area.

Loan amount:
Loan Cycle Amount (in taka)*
1st 3,000
2nd 6,000
3rd 10,000
4th 15,000
5th 20,000
6th 20,000
7th 60,000
8th 1,00000
9th 1,00000
10th 1,00000

*The entire amount was invested in her business.

Location and operating methods of the business:
Baby lives in the small village of Rangapani. She operates her business within her house.
She has cows which produce milk. She not only uses biogas for cooking, she sells the compost of the biogas as well.

Baby's Business Facts:
· She has seven cows.
· She creates biogas which she is using in her kitchen.
· She has some sound knowledge of business.
· Her husband keeps the accounts of the business.
· She grows grass to feed her cows.
· She sells waste as a fertiliser and earns money.
· She has a shop where the tea made with her cows' milk is very popular.
· She has another seasonal mushroom business which earns large amounts of money.
· Her house is very neat and clean.

Social participation:
She is a social worker. Everyone around her respects her and listens to her advice. During our field visit, we found a woman, who was getting abused by her husband and is now living with Baby's family in her house. Baby gave that woman shelter in her house and is helping this lady solve this problem.

Assets and Liabilities:
Assets Price (in taka)
Land, House 10,00,000
Cows 2,50,000
Savings & others asset 3,00,000
Total 15,50,000

Liabilities: Tk. 70, 810 (loan from IDF).

IDF helped her by providing the loan. The organisation has been providing loans since 1997. At first she took a loan of Tk. 3000. Now she has taken a loan of the amount of Tk.1,00,000. Moreover IDF provided her training on “Entrepreneur Development” which helped her in the business.

At present her income per month is Tk. 33,000. She has never defaulted on her loans
Baby is a true success story:

Now she plans on selling milk all over Rangamati and Chittagong. She also has a plan to supply butter, ghee and sweets in the market. To understand how difficult it must have been to do business for her: she comes from a very remote area and is an ethnic minority. She has taught herself the basics of business and has struggled every step of the way. Her business is diverse: the cow-dung is used for biogas and the biogas waste is used for compost fertiliser. She has educated her children. She has created job opportunities for her family members and has changed the financial condition of her family. Now, Baby gets more respect from her husband and family members. She has overcome barriers and that deserves praise.

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