Eti got married at a tender age of 14 when she was still in secondary school. She sat for and passed her examinations while living in her parents’ home in Jamalpur district, Mymensingh, northern Bangladesh. Then her husband was working in another district. Without financial support nor communication from her husband after over a year of marriage, she decided to seek a divorce that was finalized when she was 18.
Her father was a farmer with seasonal income of 5,000 taka (almost US$60) a month. He could not provide for her further education or skills training. “My family had no other source of income. We felt very helpless and unhappy,” said Eti. When she learned about from a local community leader that free training in sewing and embroidery skills was provided, she took the opportunity to improve her family’s finances. The training course was part of a partnership between Habitat for Humanity Bangladesh and the Korea International Cooperation Agency.
After her application was accepted, Eti went through the 40-day training. By November 2020, she was a certified seamstress and received a sewing machine with a toolkit. She started making women’s and children’s clothing from a room in her parents’ house. With business coming from her neighbors and community members, she earns an average of 1,500 taka per month. “This income is a great form of support for my family.”
Eti plans to start a small business in the village market where customers can choose from different swathes of cloth for her to make their apparel. Thankful for the support of Habitat and KOICA, Eti looks forward to building a better life for herself and her family.