Volume 6 | Issue10| May 19, 2012|


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Behind The Scene


Hannan's Coconut Buttons

Unemployed young boys and girls in Magura village have found a unique way of occupying themselves with the help of a promising man, named Abdul Hannan Sheikh of the Barunataila village in Magura sadar upazila. Abdul Hannan proved that small capital is no problem to make a person self-reliant. The youngsters spend their time making buttons of different sizes with coconut shells at a factory set up at Hannan's house.


Hossain Seraj

Once unemployed himself, Hannan said that the thought came to him for the first time when he saw wooden buttons used with various type of shirts and other clothes at different garment shops in Dhaka. But since he didn't have enough capital he tried to manage acquiring some. After failing to arrange the required capital, he sold a 10 decimal piece of inherited land and bought seven engine-driven drill-machines that cost him Tk. 49,000.

As he didn't have the capacity to hire a house to set up his factory, he started it in two rooms of his own house. The real story of Hannan's initiative started its journey toward success 13 years ago, when he was 37 and had a workforce of seven workers. At the beginning he approached different garments factories with his buttons. His buttons received good response from the buyers and the demand for Hannan's buttons increased continuously.

Thanks to his determination and hard work, he was able to expand his business in the short span of three years. Now Hannan has at least 30 men and housewives from poor families working in his factory on a regular basis making about 450,000 buttons per month. One of the factory worker said, “we can make an average of 500 buttons daily in the span of 6-7 hours, which allows us to earn about Tk. 2,500 per month.”

A housewife in Barunataila village, Parveena Khatun said, “Earlier, we were unable to run our 5 member family smoothly as we were dependant on just the income of my rickshaw-van puller husband, but now the money I earn from the button factory has made our economical condition much better”. “Making buttons using coconut shells requires small circles (depending on the size of the buttons they are to be made into) to be cut out using a drill-machine. After which the circles have slits made on them with another drill-machine, and finally, the finishing touches are put on them using one last machine,” said Hannan.

According to the factory workers, the coconut shells are usually procured from the Magura and Bagerhat districts. At least 30,000 buttons of different sizes can be made from one thousand hard coconut shells. A thousand coconut shells are bought for Tk. 250 - 300. “A thousand large buttons are sold at Tk. 300 - 400 while the smaller ones are sold at Tk. 120 - 150 per thousand to different garment factories and wholesale markets of Sadarghat in Dhaka” said Hannan.

Hannan Sheikh also said “About 450,000 buttons are produced at my factory every month and are sold in markets at around Tk. 135,000. Their production cost (raw materials, workers' salaries, electricity bill and other expenditure) stand at about Tk. 90,000.” Hannan however, claimed that his factory could expand if he has better access to finance as he has been facing shortage of much required capital.


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