Volume 2 Issue 49 | January 17, 2009 |


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From Sirajganj

What Difference a Cow Makes

“I am very glad to get a cow. I trust it will help me so much in the future. Now, I see hope”, said Alufa Begum. “Once, it was just a dream for me to own and rear a cow to find a way out of my family's poverty. I could not afford one. But now, I have what I need due to the helping hand of some NGO workers”, she said.

Alufa Begum, 35 is the wife of Juran Ali of Shaldah Moddhyapara village in the remote Jamuna shoal of Monsurnagor union in Kazipur upazila of Sirajganj district. She is now the owner of a cow. She has also setup a vegetable garden outside her house with the help of GKS, an NGO that implements the Chars Livelihoods Programme (CLP) funded by DFID-BD.

Alufa married Juran 15 years ago. Since then, she has been facing hardships like poverty, river erosion and floods in her husband's household. She had been living out her days in a miserable condition, and her day labourer husband did not make enough money for the family. They had no other means of earning.

The erosion caused by the river deeply affected their lives. Jamuna took their house twice and forced them to move to some place else. As a result, the both fell in to extreme uncertainty and desperation. To overcome this, Alufa sometimes did sewing work but that was not enough.

“Finding no other way, I have even thought about committing suicide in the Jamuna by drowning”, said Alufa breaking into tears.

“At one stage, some personnel from the NGO Gono Kalyan Shangstha (GKS) came to visit us and check up on how we live. They had a solution for us. They asked me to become part of the Chars Livelihoods Programme (CLP)”, Alufa said.

With the assistance of local workers of GKS, also a partner NGO of Chars Livelihoods Programme, she became a part of CLP and found a newfound hope in her life.

The CLP officials sold her a cow for Tk 17,000. The also loaned her cash to raise the cow and to grow vegetables in her yard.

Alufa is now dreaming of a bright future. Her two children have started go to school. Like Alufa, many other women including Mazeda Khatun, Farida Khatun, Golap Banu, Mahela Khatun and Monowara Khatun who live in the chars have now found the paths to additional earning. They now have tube-wells and cash money for establishing vegetable gardens on the yard and to raise their houses to save them from floods.

GKS, a local NGO is implementing the Chars Livelihoods Programme (CLP) funded by DFID-BD at three unions in Jamuna shoals of Kazipur upazila. The unions are Monsurnagor, Chargrish and Khasrajbari. Meanwhile, CLP provided 2364 cows and 75 tube-wells to flood victims and poverty stricken women in the areas. Besides, 881 houses have been raised under this programme.

M Kamrul Islam, Chairman of Monsurnagor union said, if different NGOs like GKS came to the aid of distressed people in the shoals, the lives of many unfortunate people can be made much better.

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