Kohinoor Begum: Life and Livelihoods of a Bangladeshi Artisan

Kohinoor Begum: a Kisa (Grass born in the Char Areas) basketry producer of DEW Crafts

Kohinoor Begum, a 17 years old mother of a 2 years old son named Mirajul Islam. She is living in the Hapunia, Sherpur, Bogra district (northern part of Bangladesh) with her parents. She had a dream to be educated and to materialize her dream she got herself admitted in school. When she was about to finish her primary education her poor parents arranged marriage with Farid Khan, so that their economic burden reduced. At the time of her marriage she was only 11 years old. Kohinoor’s husband and his family promised her parents that “Kohinoor will be our daughter and thus her education will continue”.

Unfortunately she could not get a single chance to go back again to her long cherished school. Now she had a child and she is thinking about her son’s future during the last six years. Because of early marriage and having a child so early she undergoes different types of physical problem. Along with the poor health her economic condition deteriorated quickly and soon becomes landless also. Now Kohinoor’s in laws don’t have any land to live. Few years back when they were in a severe financial crisis they sold out their home stead. At that time Development Wheel-DEW comes forward with a friendly gesture to help them out her as a friend in adversity. DEW created the opportunity to produce baskets as income generation for her livelihoods. She can make the basket previously. It should be mentioned that Kohinoor had such heredity. For example her grand mother and mother also know very well to weave date palm leaf and dry grass basket. Besides this, DEW provided skill development training, quality control and other related activities. Inspite of this they have no opportunity to work through out the whole year. If they had work for all season they would change their condition. They also have some other problem in their production process. For example they have no storage facility in their premises. As a result the can not maintain product quality properly.

When asked why Kohinoor Begum produced baskets and where she spends her earnings, she replied “I couldn’t get the chance to continue my education but my son will be educated with my income, he will go to school. All of my efforts are for him and now he is my only hope. Now I also spend a part of my income for my family and to fulfillment of my small wishes.”


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