Volume 2 Issue 32 | April 26 , 2008 |


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From Bogra

Fortune Changed by Swans

EVEN a few years back the household of Monjuara, a housewife from Chandair Dighipara in Jhamutpur village in Ahmedabad union in Kalai upazilla of Jaipurhat, had poverty as a constant companion. It was a real struggle to make ends meet. Her husband Abdul Karim's earnings as an agricultural worker was not only insufficient to let them afford to send their three children to school, it was so small that the family of five would often have to go without food. As her husband did not own any land she did not have a home to call her own. But now those days have passed for Monjuara. She is now literally independent. Prosperity has returned to her household. Now she does not have to go hungry with her husband and children.

Since prosperity returned to their household she has spent Taka 60,000 to purchase 20 shatak land and spent a further 1 lakh or so to help build a brick house that they could call their own. Earlier, Abdul Karim had to work as a worker for other farmers. Now he has other workers working for him. Due to financial stability returning to her family, Monjuara has been able to spend about Taka 80,000 to lease ten bighas of arable land on a yearly basis. Along with her worker husband Abdul Karim she has cultivated potatoes, boro and amon rice on her leased land. In order to facilitate their business she has bought her husband a power tiller and trolley for 1.25 lakh taka. She has also bought 8-10 cows and formed a small dairy farm, right outside their house. Those cows are worth about 1.5 lakhs.

Not only that last year Monjuara spent 1.5 lakhs to marry off her eldest daughter, Tanjila. They have enrolled their children Kohinoor and Mofidul in good schools. Kohinoor is now in class 4 and Mofidul in the Alem section. Monjuara's household is now filled with happiness and financial stability. There was a time when every day was a struggle. The transition to financial solvency did not involve magic formula, just hard wok and good business. The catalyst of this success was swan cultivation. Day by day, bit by bit she set up her swan farm through honest hard work. She started selling eggs, ducklings and ducks and made a lot of money that way. Her financial independence has encouraged a lot of the locals to follow in her footsteps.

Housewives in neighboring households have also started cultivating swans. And just like Monjuara, many other formerly struggling families are now seeing better days.

The way it all started
It all started in 2000. Monjuara was fed up with living on her husband Abdul Karim's meager income. They owned no land either. On many days Monjuara and her three children would have to go without eating. Having to see her children go hungry was the hardest but Monjuara had no alternative. She could not even buy her children their necessities for school. One day Monjuara noticed that her mother-in-law, Shohida, owned a few swans. Shohida, a widow, supported herself quite well by raising about a 100 swans in her backyard. Not only does Shohida eat well she wears good clothes. She is treating her daughter and son-in-law to good meals.

Monjuara suddenly got the idea of doing the same thing as her mother-in-law. But she didn't have enough money to startup. She didn't lose hope. She took loans and bought ten swans. Within months all the swans grew up and started laying eggs. She paid off her loans. Eight of her swans laid 115 eggs in 15 days. Monjuara didn't sell the eggs. Instead, she let the eggs hatch, which in turn grew up to become 115 swans. 12 of them died. Monjuara built up her farm with the initial 10 plus 103 new swans. The new generation of swans also started laying eggs soon as well as the older ones.

This is how, within 15 days, Monjuara had over a thousand eggs. Her farm kept growing. She earned a lot of cash selling eggs and ducklings. She started to become solvent. She bought land, bought a house, bought a tiller, bought a trolley, bought a farm. She got her daughter married.

What others are saying
Her husband Abdul Karim has commented, “Monjuara has brought light to this household. Somebody is smiling on us now.”

Kalai upazila union chairman Nur Mohammad Kalam said “Monjuara is a model for women in this region. Others are trying to do exactly what she did.”

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