Rema feeds fish in the fish pond she started.
Rima is an 18 year-old girl from KharijJomal Char. Rima’s father died leaving her family destitute. Rima hoped to take her secondary school examinations but feared that her family could not afford the examination fees. She was further frustrated to learn that her guardians were searching for a husband for her because there were few opportunities for Rima to earn money.
Rima joined the Kishoree Kontha (KK) group, focused on developing the social and financial competencies of adolescent girls, empowering them to develop strong voices and shape a bright and healthy future for themselves. Rima became a Peer Educator for the social competency unit and received 40 hours of basic training on the subject from Field Trainer Zinat. Rima eagerly took part in the financial competency and educational support sessions and was excited when her group began “Safe Savings.” Rima started saving money each week from her school stipend and began to assess opportunities to engage in income-generating activities. She yearned to practice her learning from the KK project and earn money to cover her examination fees.
Rima’s family possessed some unused land and a pond on its property and so at the conclusion of her Safe Savings cycle, Rima invested in tree saplings and fish so that she could cultivate both to sell. Rima currently has fish in her pond with a market value of 5000 Taka ($71) and she knows she can easily sell some to cover her examination fees.
Additionally, with the income she is earning, Rima can consider education beyond secondary school. “I am very happy that I could use the learning about finances to secure my educational future. I now feel confident about pursuing additional education…I am really grateful to the project and Field Trainer Zinat who brought this program to us.”
Rima’s guardians have also been happy to see her become involved in income-generating activities. Mujul Begum explained how Rima’s activities have reduced the household burden and helped prove that girls can be assets to their families. Mujul notes, “We are no longer looking for a groom for her marriage. We like the Kishoree Kontha activities. Before, girls spent any extra money [from their lunch or transportation allowances] on cosmetics and other unnecessary items. But now they are saving and this will help them have positive futures.”
Rima has been encouraging other girls in her area to save and engage in income generating activities that can help secure their futures and change the way their families view them. Field Trainer Zinat is proud of Rima’s achievements and commented: “It makes me happy when I see how confident Rima is. When I met her for the first time, she was very introverted and scared about her education. Now she encourages other girls to continue their education and to earn money. I think things changed for Rima because she regularly attended the [KK] peer education sessions and worked at applying her learning in her practical life. I now have high hopes for her future.”