THIS month we are wrapping up summer and covering autumn in colour with our cotton tie-dyed scarves, intricately woven by hand by our mothers living in The Sreepur Village, Bangladesh.
Lipi, Khaleda and Khadiza are not fashion models, they are role models to their children and their communities. Before having arrived at The Sreepur Village each mother experienced suffering and trauma. Upon arrival at Sreepur, each mother has engaged in a variety of income-generating activities, skills that will now enable them to empower other mothers when they return back to their communities.
In Bangladesh, a woman, especially a single mother without work or a home, is regarded as insignificant and is more than often excluded from a community. When a single mother such as Lipi, Khaleda and Khadiza return to their respective villages in Chittagong, Narayangon and Shunamgon with new skills and business opportunities their presence is not ignored. These mothers will be included, admired and will be seen as a symbol of hope and empowerment to others and a role model for growing a community socially and economically.
It is our priority to ensure that our mothers are given the right skills and tools that will elevate their chances of living a more equal life, a life that they can independently fulfil with hope, opportunity and female empowerment.
Here are the future aspirations and ambitions of three single mothers living in The Sreepur Village, who despite their previous adverse experiences are now determined more than ever to succeed and live life independently and financially self-sufficient. Lipi, seen on the left, is a mother of two daughters and she hails from Teknaf in Cox’s Bazar District in the division of Chittagong, Bangladesh.
She told us:
“When my husband left me with two children, I fell into dire straits. We arrived at The Sreepur Village in 2020 and I feel much better here. Now, I dream of prosperous days ahead. Along with other livelihood training, I’m focusing on tailoring because after three years, in 2023, when I leave the Sreepur Village I’m going to start a tailoring business where other mothers in my community will get the chance to work with me.”
Khaleda, seen in the middle, is a mother of two daughters and she comes from Narayangonj a central city in Bangladesh. Khaleda came to live in The Sreepur Village in the middle of 2019, she shared with us:
“My husband used to beat me often as he was demanding a dowry but my father couldn’t afford to pay. Eventually, he left me so that he could marry someone else. At the Sreepur Village, I dream of completing the tie-dye training successfully because after that I want to a start tie-dye business in my community and also teach tie-dye to other mothers in my community.”
Khadiza, on the right, is a mother of one son and one daughter, she is from Shunamgonj in the Sylhet Division of north-eastern Bangladesh:
“I arrived at The Sreepur Village in August 2020. A few days into my marriage I noticed that my husband was taking drugs and drinking heavily and he was not contributing to our family. He only wanted to stay at home and drink alcohol and take drugs. I tried to convince him to stop and he told me he would, but he never did! Eventually, he started to develop a number of health issues and could no longer support us. Since arriving at the Sreepur Village my children and I have been spending quality time together. My children are going to school, we are getting food, clothes, everything. Under the livelihood training programme, I’m currently being trained in a small shop business. My future plan is to start a small grocery shop in my community.”
If you would like to purchase a Fair Trade tie-dye scarf made by mothers living in The Sreepur Village then please visit: https://bit.ly/38Z0C2Z.