In the poor rural communities of Bangladesh, many women are entirely dependent on their husband’s often meager incomes and frequently have very little say in how the money is spent. Widows, divorced women, and deserted women fare even worse, since most do not have the skills, education, or resources with which to support themselves and their children.
But in Jessore, a communal fish pond has given 30 women an income, a voice, and the chance to provide a better life for their children.
A local women’s NGO, Banchte Shekha (Learning to Survive), helped the women to excavate the pond and then provided training on how to raise carp and several other species of fish. The women now manage the pond on their own, though the NGO helps to monitor and supervise the project.
The women have used the money they have earned from selling the fish to buy livestock, build better homes, buy land that is in their name as well as in their husband’s, and educate their children. But the benefits aren’t purely financial—by generating their own incomes and contributing to their families’ well-being, the women have gained confidence, control over their own affairs, and the respect of others in their community.
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