“Leaving our home behind was the hardest thing to do,” said Nurjahan, “The river eroded the land. We had no choice but to leave.”
Nurjahan and her husband left behind their home in Lakshmipur, southern Bangladesh, with their four children. They headed to Chittagong city to look for jobs.
“The six of us lived in a single room in one of the city’s slums. There was drain water seeping into our little room. There was no clean water to give to my children. I remember vividly how miserable life was.”
Education above all
Life was difficult, but Nurjahan and her husband never compromised on their children’s education.
“I only studied till Class 9,” shared Nurjahan, “but I want more for my children. We made sure that they all went to school no matter what - even with the little income that my husband earned as a day labourer. We want our children to dream bigger than us.”
A blooming entrepreneur
Nurjahan’s life has been filled with obstacles but she never gave up.
In 2016, her family was selected as one of the ultra-poor households within the slum they were living in. She was given hands-on coaching on the various ways she could start earning a better living for her family.
Nurjahan discussed with her husband and decided to start a small business of selling beauty products. She was given seed capital, and three days worth of training on financial management and business techniques.
Nurjahan gradually started to bloom as an entrepreneur, growing more and more confident as she earned her profits. She soon diversified her means of earning. Now she also buys and sells fabrics.
Taking the lead
“We now live in a proper brick house with two rooms,” she said, “I also plan on buying land in our village back home. I want to rebuild the home we lost to the river.”
Nurjahan took a loan worth BDT 45,000 (USD 530) from BRAC’s microfinance programme to help her work towards her dream of building her home back in Lakshipur. She has also been consistently saving on a monthly basis, and has saved nearly BDT 14,000 (USD 165).
Nurjahan’s eldest daughter is completing her undergraduate studies. And her three sons are all good students in school. “I want them to grow confident and believe they can achieve in their lives.”