• Wednesday, Jan 26, 2022
  • Last Update : 03:32 am

Monowara, the single mother

  • Published at 04:17 pm January 5th, 2020
Monowara standing among the rice fields near her home. Photo: Courtesy

Women can support their families without a husband if they are given the right training and knowledge

After eight years of marriage, Monowara’s husband married another woman without her knowledge. Her husband lived in Dhaka, working in a garment factory while she stayed at home in Dimla taking care of their two sons. When she found out about the initial affair, she tried to make him stop, but he only treated her poorly in response. One year later, her nephew went to visit her husband in Dhaka and saw that he was living with this woman, already married. Monowara immediately went to see the chairman of her community to request a divorce. With the divorce final, her husband stopped funding her children’s education. Monowara had to move back to her father’s house and depend on her brother to support her two sons’ education and living expenses. 

Monowara realized that her future was insecure and had to find a way to become financially independent. She started with PROTIC shortly after moving back to her father’s home. With the help of her smartphone, she was able to advise her father and brother on cultivation techniques. As her confidence grew, she started growing vegetables for the family herself. She branched out to raise poultry seasonally, then goats, cows, and finally turkeys in 2019. Through PROTIC, she learned how to vaccinate livestock during a six-day training with the local Animal Health Officer. Now she administers vaccinations to her community’s livestock, making Tk200 every six months.

Through her diverse income sources, Monowara became financially secure. She paid for her sons’ education and even started her own education again, paying Tk300 per month in tuition. Now she saves Tk300 per month after supporting her brother’s family in household expenses. 

Furthermore, Monowara is able to support her community beyond her family. She is the go-to person for cows, selling more nutritious feed than the traditional grass at no profit. She learned through a PROTIC training what to feed milk cows to make them healthy and produce more milk. Monowara also helps her neighbors proactively. When her neighbor’s ducklings were dying, she went to him and suggested feeding them vitamins and saline, giving him the medicine as well. 15 out of the original 50 survived – none would have if she did not intervene. Monowara cares about others and wants them to do well.

In the future, Monowara wants to complete her SSCs and get a well paying job while continuing her agricultural work. Her elder son wants to become a doctor while the younger one aspires to be a police officer. She does not want to get married again.

We learned from Monowara that women can support their families without a husband if they are given the right training and knowledge. With PROTIC’s intervention, Monowara was not only able to help herself but support her family and community. She was not dependent on her father and brother helplessly after her divorce but an active contributing member of her family.

Tania Ahmed and Mity Mahmuda are research officers at ICCCAD.

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