Maksuda Begum: A River Erosion fighter

oxfamWomen Chapter: Barisal is a combination of rice, river and canals. Barisal is one of the geographical places of Bangladesh, which was being created because the rivers.  Rivers, canals, forests, biodiversity, everything in one place is in ‘Ujirpur’, an upazilla of Barisal district. I live in Mira House of ‘ Dakhshin Shikarpur Village’ of this upazilla.

I am Maksuda Begum. I studied up to class five. My father was poor and there were other social problems, which are why I could not get admitted to High School. My husband is Azizul Haque Mira. Our family member is six.  As my husband is a farmer, agriculture is the main source of income of our family. I was born in Rakudia village of Babuganj upazilla which is a place get swallowed every year by river erosion.

My family became homeless by river erosion. We had to take shelter in other’s house. I moved with my husband to dakhshin shikarpur village to survive from river erosion. My domestic life was ridden with so many problems.

My husband was small farmer and only his income was not enough to bear the expenses of our family. I wanted to improve our family condition and I found no other way except engaging myself in agriculture. I started my agricultural work with cultivating in two decimal lands given by my husband and I took another decimal land lease. I grew 18 mon rice, 7 mon jute, 5 mon Korola and 400 pc gourds.

I saved some money after selling those crops to take care of the education of my children. I had a broken house earlier but now I have a wooden house. I got my daughter married through selling my cows.  My elder daughter has finished her S.S.C and my son is studying in class six. Upazilla Agriculture department has cooperated my when they heard that I am trying to improve my livelihood through agriculture.

I have got training on vegetable and rice cultivation from Agriculture department. I have also got an irrigation pump from the agriculture department as recognition of my hard work.

I am self dependent now because of my hard work. I have opened an agriculture club which has become a gathering place for 50 women famers. I spend the lion’s share of my time in agriculture. Then I do my household work. I do not care the superstitions. My family members, my brothers did not accept my agricultural works easily.  They did not support me. My neighbors also criticized my agricultural work.

Besides, I also faced challenges in doing agricultural work as I am a girl from ‘Saiyad Family’, which is a past now. My husband and my children co-operate me in my agricultural work which is the main support to my success.

I am planning to organize training on agriculture for the women farmers of my locality with the support of agriculture department. I will collect seeds, fertilizers and pesticides from the agriculture office to distribute among the women farmers.

My future plan is to establish a co-operative agricultural farm with the men and women farmers, where will be fisheries to market those in a cooperative system. I hope Union Parishad, Upazilla Agriculture Office, Upazilla forestry department and Upazilla fisheries department will support women farmers through extending their hand of cooperation and services.

 

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