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Thursday, June 7, 2018

Helena is leading her family out of poverty

Helena, a mother living in Mollakanda, Bangladesh, embodies the resourcefulness found in people who have learned to survive in abject poverty. That same resourcefulness, when supported with a little help, transforms families and communities.

Helena knew her family was in trouble and she needed to come up with a solution. Her work as a day laborer paid close to nothing. Shahabuddin, her husband, was struggling as well. Between the two of them they were not earning enough income to send their children to school and could barely afford food for their family. Their home, a shack that leaked incessantly even in the lightest rainfall, was damp, cramped and unsafe.

Helena came up with a solution. She would open a small store to earn the income her family needed.

Helena received training in basic business skills and learned about the inner workings of the market that served her community. With this new knowledge Helena opened her small store, carefully tracking the products that sold best at the market and investing in the more profitable or popular items. Helena’s efforts paid off and soon she was earning between $45 to $55 per month, significantly more than she or her husband had ever earned.

A portion of the earnings was used to start a small garden to grow vegetables for sale at her store. Another portion was set aside as savings which were eventually used to purchase two sheep. The plan is to sell the sheep at a profit and then purchase a cow.

Shahabuddin helps Helena with sales. With the income they earn they are able to feed their children three healthy meals per day, send them to school, and buy medications when they are sick.

In addition to the initial training, Helena and her family received a new home and latrine which has enabled the family to live a healthier life.

“I am very grateful for the unconditional support. It has changed our lives,” says Helena. Without this support, Helena and her family had no hope of transforming their lives.

Today, Helena and Shahabuddin are the parents they always wanted to be and are also helping others in their community break free from the cycle of poverty.