• Thursday, Apr 22, 2021
  • Last Update : 04:52 am

Bithika, the photographer

  • Published at 06:27 pm January 1st, 2020
Climate Tribune_December 2019_Pg 10-11
Bithika showing off some of the vegetables she has grown. Photo: Courtesy

Providing a smartphone to a woman opens up opportunities for the rest of the community that would not have existed otherwise                                                                                                                                                                

Bithika did not know the value of a smart phone until she had it. She thought that if PROTIC gave her Tk10,000 instead she could have started a business and earned more that way. What she did not realize was that she would be able to do just that with her phone. Now in the comfort of her own home, she uses her smart phone to take photos of women and children, charging Tk20 for two photos, Tk25 taka for three, and Tk40 for four. She keeps all of her earnings, making Tk100-200 per week. She makes even more at the beginning of the school year when students need to submit photos for their ID cards. Her husband supports her by printing the photos in his computer shop, where he does the same business but in the public space of the bazaar. Bithika’s edge is that her home is a comfortable environment for women and children and much more convenient to reach than the bazaar.

Besides her photography business, Bithika learned how to improve her agricultural practices through PROTIC training. She started a home garden, raised ducks, and farmed fish. She struggled with all three of these agricultural activities at first, but the trainings and apps on her phone helped. The support structures she used for her vegetables were weak and would break during storms, but she learned how to put in strong frames, using Google as her guide. On a field trip to Hori Nagar, another village in Satkhira, she learned from locals how they grew vegetables in saline soil. Now she digs a hole half a hand deep, covers it with thick plastic, and fills it with soil, leaving six inches at the top for organic fertilizer. Using this method, she is able to cultivate seasonal vegetables twelve months out of the year. To remedy pests, she learned to spray Wheel powder mixed with water on her plants by calling the call center for advice. Her fish used to die during the Choitro and Boishakh months, but she started adding calcium carbonate to her pond in every three months to clean the water. Now her fish thrive. These are just a few of the techniques Bithika learned that made a significant difference in her agricultural output.

In the future, Bithika wants to continue all of her agricultural practices, adding a coconut garden to the mix. Currently she is doing a month long tailoring training through RECALL and will receive a sewing machine after completing it. She hopes to earn more by taking tailoring orders and teaching others how to sew simultaneously. Her husband is guiding her on how to use computers, such as typing, creating documents and printing so that she can do all of these income generating activities once her home is connected to electricity.

From Bithika, we learned that giving women smart phone technology provides the opportunity for them to do what they would not have dreamed of doing before. Bithika had no idea that she could take photos of other people with her phone when she first received it. We also learned that providing a phone to a woman opens up opportunities for the rest of the community that would not have existed otherwise. When Bithika got her smartphone, she created a pathway for women and children to get their photos taken in her home, removing the inconvenience of travelling to the bazaar. Furthermore, Bithika was able to develop herself through her smart phone. Her success with technology opened up more opportunities – her husband believed in her abilities, and with her request he started teaching her how to use a computer. He was confident that she could learn more. Bithika’s smartphone was a pathway to income generating activities – a self fulfilling prophecy of success.

Tania Ahmed and Mity Mahmuda are research officers at ICCCAD

Facebook 50
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail