October 15 is International Day of Rural Women and this year’s theme is based on the “challenges and opportunities in climate-resilient agriculture for gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls.”
In Bangladesh, the contribution of rural women remains unseen and is unrecognised in the world. Here, the women directly produce and aid the production of all the basic food requirements. Women perform a high percentage of the labour of rice cultivation in Bangladesh, and despite taking on the roles of food production, food preservation, household duties and childcare, they remain totally invisible, unappreciated and undervalued. Women in Bangladesh are facing extreme discrimination within the agricultural, social and economic spheres.
This picture is more severe for the poorer women farmers in the north-western part of Bangladesh, as most of the agricultural productions in this area are having a bigger impact due to climate change. The women farmers, here, are facing problems that involve securing land tenure, water and energy, wages, financing, technology, access to information and much more. So, these obstacles inevitably make the rural women more vulnerable which then becomes a struggle for them to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal; Gender Equality. According to the UN report, if we can close the gender gap then we can increase our agricultural outputs.
You will see how the women in The Sreepur Village are getting involved in our agricultural training programmes which entails, literacy, labour and production. The majority of our Sreepur mothers are from the northern riverine area of Bangladesh. They are the victims of climate change and because of river erosion some have had to move more than seven times. They also fail to cultivate their land due to the acute lack of water.
Here, in The Sreepur Village we appoint them to learn and practice homestead gardening, fish cultivation, cow rearing, duck rearing and other direct income generating agricultural works. They also learn how to get the information, free seeds and other facilities from government and non-government organisations.
With a complete integrated knowledge and experience in agriculture and production this is one step closer to empowerment and reducing the gender and pay gap. Along these lines The Sreepur Village works hard to achieve these Sustainable Development Goals.
Out of the blue, at the tender age of 13, Chia found herself sitting on a bridal stage, about to marry a man who was 35 years old. Her parents had arranged the match, finding the man from their nearby locality in Bhairab.
He was a small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) businessman who occasionally sold vegetables and fruits on the street. Chia's aspirations and youthful dreams were abruptly interrupted by this sudden marriage. Instead of books, she found herself with kitchen utensils in her hands. She went from feeling like a princess to becoming a servant overnight.
Sumi's journey is a testament to her resilience and determination to create a better life for herself and her child. Her success serves as an inspiration to all those facing adversity, reminding us of the transformative power of support, training, and the opportunity to rebuild one's life.