Women from a development program in Bangladesh's Sundarban Area are taking training courses to learn how to make products to sell and earn money for their families.
The courses, which are receiving support from World Vision Bangladesh, are being conducted by the Upoma Women's Development Association a group that was formed in December 2003 when 155 members of seven development groups in suburban Khulna were merged together.
Marjina Rahim, the leader of the Upoma, said women wanted something they could rely on when World Vision phased out of their communities. She said the income generation activities are a way of providing that security.
According to World Vision, one of the main ways these women are learning to earn a living is through "block-boutique" training, which involves learning to use different blocks each with certain patterns carved into them to decorate clothing. Another method they learn involves tying up pieces of cloth with thin rope or yarn at certain distances, then immersing them in dye. They are then left to dry, with new patterns emerging.
Women from Upoma that first learned the techniques in 2003 are now providing training for others.
From May 2 - 18, women from development groups in the WV Korea and Singapore-funded ADP in Gobarchala compartment took part in classes at the ADP office. The 20 women, drawn from 20 different development groups, included housewives and college students.
We dont want to be satisfied just providing training to World Visions DG members. We want to set up a full-fledged professional training institute where we will train not only for block-boutiques but also on items of modern fashion, said Marjina, who conducts the training.
In the last year, Upoma has earned Taka 32,500 (US$520 approx.) through selling their training services, Marjina says.
The women's group also provides training on making paper bags and cotton products. In partnership with World Vision, they conduct programs on adult education, nutrition, health-education for adolescent girls, and dancing, singing and recitation classes for children.