Mahfuza is 37 years old. She lives in the Gazipur district with her husband Abdul and has two sons.

“ If Symbiosis organization had not given me advice, I would not have been able to go this far and I would not have had the courage. We are very grateful for the service work of Symbiosis” – Mahfuza

A difficult start

Mahfuza’s family life was very difficult. She was the only daughter of her parents and due to poverty in the family, she was married young before completing her primary school education. Mahfuza studied up to 5th standard and her husband studied up to 2nd standard.

Mahfuzda became a mother at a young age. For many years she worked at the home caring for them while her husband worked as a day laborer.

Things were hard in the beginning, particularly on one income. They couldn’t afford children’s clothes, reading and writing expenses. This placed a lot of strain on their relationship financially they had no plan. Knowledge about income improvement was low as neither of them had received further training. 

An introduction

In 2007 Symbiosis surveyed Vitipara area as part of the Gazipur Integrated Development Project (GIDP). Mahfuza’s name was in the survey.

She was not initially willing to join the education class but eventually, she admitted herself excited that she could learn to read and write. 

Mahfuza studied regularly for eight months. After completing his education, in 2007, she was part of a group which formed called Mahila Samukhi Samiti. She first started saving with 5 taka, 10 taka a week, now she saves 50 taka. Apart from the activities of the group, she has gained interest in income-raising work, health, environment and social issues. 

A desire to keep learning

In 2023, Mahfuza Begum now serves as the cashier of the group . Through Symbiosis she and her husband had the opportunity to try different income generation training opportunities in sewing, animal husbandry and vegetable cultivation.

Some of the opportunities they have pursued together involved sewing. Abdul bought a sewing machine with a loan. Seeing that Mahfuza sewed their own clothes well, he thought that she could also sew and sell for the people around them. Mahfuza also self-taught herself (via Youtube) beauty techniques so she could work at a parlor.

Mahfuza Begum gained knowledge through the Samiti (group). She talks about the importance of literacy through symbiosis, use of sanitary latrines, nutritious food, child marriage, violence against women, evictions, tree plantation, covid-19 (coronavirus), social work. 

She feels that the association has benefited them a lot. Their dream is to educate their boys with good education.

This story was prepared by Project Manager, Farida of the Gazipur Integrated Development Project.


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