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Thursday, October 15, 2015

Getting from surviving to thriving

Life in rural Bangladesh is challenging on a good day. On a bad day, it’s hard to bear.

It was definitely a bad day when Parul’s husband left her and their two sons. The emotional trauma was difficult, but the physical challenge of surviving would prove to be equally difficult.

Work is hard to find in Barisal, an impoverished rural area of Bangladesh where Parul and her sons live, and Parul struggled to earn enough income to provide for her family. She would need help if she and her sons were going to do more than just survive.

Fortunately, Parul found the help she needed in a savings group supported by friends of HOPE International Development Agency. She joined the group and began attending meetings, along with 19 other women. At each meeting, Parul would learn more about basic money management, and she began contributing a small amount of money toward a group fund that would help women like her start small businesses.

Having learned what she needed to learn in order to start a small business that would support her family, Parul borrowed $85 from the group fund and used the money to start a small grocery business using the produce she was growing. Parul also attended additional training sessions focused on helping her maximize production and increase profit.

Parul paid back her first loan and then took a second loan to further increase the production of produce for her grocery store. Her second investment in growing her small business paid off. Today, Parul’s monthly income has doubled. She now earns roughly $170 a month.

“I feel blessed to be part of the savings group,” says Parul. “The loans and my business have made it possible for me and my sons to live without fear and have given us hope for the future!”

Parul (shown below with some of her produce) plans to use her new income to send her two boys to school. She also intends to purchase a cow and start selling milk at her grocery store.