Women of our country are becoming more independent every day by joining the workforce. Fair & Lovely Foundation has been a part of this progress by helping them in their business startups, vocational trainings, and higher study scholarships. In 2015, Fair & Lovely Foundation, through a campaign named, “Tomar shopno koro shotti (Make your dreams come true),” asked for applications from women who want to start their own business, receive vocational training, or pursue higher education. They received more than 7000 applications from around the country, and based on their merit, a total of 357 applicants were selected. A350 of them received scholarship for higher education and vocational training, while 7 received financial support to start their own business. Today, we look at one of the inspirational stories of those recipients.
Investment certificate recipient
When a dream, nurtured for years, becomes a reality, the feeling is beyond any explanation. Nigar Sultana is one of the lucky ones to have been able to experience that feeling. She had been persistently trying to make her dream come true. Despite several failed attempts, she did not give up. After every failure, she came back stronger, starting afresh. Finally, her relentless effort and dedication got the required support from Fair & Lovely Foundation. Today, Nigar Sultana is a successful entrepreneur.
Nigar Sulatana, who comes from a really impoverished family in Dinajpur, always had the dream of starting a business of her own. With this dream, after completing her higher school studies, in the year 2000, Nigar shifted to her sister’s home in Dhaka. Seeing all the glittery fashion boutiques in the city, her dream only got stronger. Nigar says, “I didn’t have the money or the training to start my own boutique then. Despite that, I did not lose hope, my dream was still alive. I knew I had to do it. My sister’s landlady knew block designing. Since I didn’t have the money for proper training, I started helping her out with block works which taught me a lot. I also learnt tailoring. Later, I bought some materials with borrowed money from my sister, with which I made some block dresses and sold them. In 2006, I got married, and soon after our wedding, my husband left his job. A new struggle ensued. For my family to survive, I had to use up my savings for the boutique, where as I couldn’t even afford a sewing machine. Then, when my husband found a new job, I went back to making block dresses with an investment of Tk10,000. However, after just six months of being employed, my husband left his job again. And I ended up using up all my investment for my family, once again. This is how things continued for the next few years. In the meantime, I became a mother. The financial crisis became so unbearable that we had to go back to our village. Later, in 2012, I borrowed Tk12,000, yet again to restart my business. However, I kept stumbling due to the lack of money. Finally, in 2015, I saw the ad by Fair & Lovely Foundation, “Tomar shopno koro shotti” campaign, and applied for it. I got selected and received Tk 2 lakh to start my business. At present, my business is in full operation. Before receiving the donation, I had taken some loans, which I have been able to pay back with the profit I made with the contribution of Fair & Lovely Foundation. And today, I am free of any loan and self-sufficient.”
Nigar is no longer worried about financial crisis putting a pause in her business again. Now, she dreams of expanding her business. She hopes more women will get such career boosts in fulfilling their dreams.