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Alpona's agro-endeavour kindles hope in others

  • Published at 09:53 pm November 27th, 2016
  • Last updated at 10:05 pm November 27th, 2016
Alpona's agro-endeavour kindles hope in others
Undaunted in the face of adversity a 17-year-old girl wanted to be master of her own destiny. She comes from an impoverished remote village of Shyamnagar in Satkhira. She was like any other ordinary rural girl when she was married off at the age of 17. “I was just a housewife doing household chores but I knew I should do something that can help the family,” says Alpona Rani Mistory who is now 44 years old. Apart from her domestic chores she started working as a day labourer to earn some extra bucks to help her family. [caption id="attachment_36688" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Alpona Rani Mistory, a Shyamnagar resident in Satkhira, turned her luck upside down after starting her agro-endeavour 16-year-ago Abu Siddique/Dhaka Tribune Alpona Rani Mistory, a Shyamnagar resident in Satkhira, turned her luck upside down after starting her agro-endeavour 16-year-ago Abu Siddique/Dhaka Tribune[/caption] With the passage of time she began to ponder over how she could be master of her own fate. Finally, she began to work on her husband’s 33 decimals of agricultural land adjacent to her home. Initially Alpona tried to cultivate different types of seasonal vegetables in the land round the year. But due to crisis of water, irrigating land for vegetable cultivation became difficult for her, especially in winter. But that could not deter Alpona from pursuing her dream. The couple ventured on to excavate a tiny pond adjacent to their farm to collect water for round-the-year irrigation. Alpona now cultivates potato and brinjal throughout the year. In between rows of potato she plants bean and other types of vegetables. [caption id="attachment_36686" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Alpona Rani Mistory, a Shyamnagar resident in Satkhira, turned her luck upside down after starting her agro-endeavour 16-year-ago Abu Siddique/Dhaka Tribune Alpona Rani Mistory, a Shyamnagar resident in Satkhira, turned her luck upside down after starting her agro-endeavour 16-year-ago Abu Siddique/Dhaka Tribune[/caption] Her yields have been bumper. After 10 years of her hard work life began to smile upon her. By the time, she has bought cows and goats. She now has a total of 10 cows, 14 goats and 100 ducks – all she made from her vegetable production over the past few years. “I tried to use the land my husband inherited from his father. Initially, I produced some specific kinds of vegetables like potato, bean and others during winter. “Later I began to cultivate other vegetables like gourd that can be produced round the year,” she says. “However, for the past 10 years I have been producing different kinds of vegetables round the year with the help of my husband.” [caption id="attachment_36687" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Alpona Rani Mistory, a Shyamnagar resident in Satkhira, turned her luck upside down after starting her agro-endeavour 16-year-ago Abu Siddique/Dhaka Tribune Alpona Rani Mistory, a Shyamnagar resident in Satkhira, turned her luck upside down after starting her agro-endeavour 16-year-ago Abu Siddique/Dhaka Tribune[/caption] Alpona says she did not think of sending her two children – a son and a daughter – to school because her family was poor even though her husband owned 33 decimals of land. “Sending my children to district level school and college was once a dream but that dream has now come true,” she says with a smile. Her two children are now studying as her family can now afford their education expenses. Her son is studying at Shyamnagar College. After 16 years of her ceaseless efforts Alpona received the Bangabandhu Agricultural Award in 2014 in the category of economic empowerment. But she is not alone now in such endeavour. At least 10 other women in Alpona's village have also followed her footsteps to wage a fight against poverty.