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Handloom sector changes fortunes of rural women
Sep '08
Flourishing handloom industry has proved blissful for the distressed and unemployed women and girls who have found a means to contribute significantly to the rural economy and in the process become self-reliant.

Women from rural and urban areas are now emerging successful in changing their piteous circumstances by sewing garments and engaging in other income generating activities. This as a consequence, has brought about a new era in rural economy and women empowerment in the north, which was until now dubbed as the poorest part of the country.

A number of these women have already achieved economic self-reliance by their own initiatives and external assistance from various organizations that provided training, inputs and helped create marketing facilities to sell their products.

It has been estimated that over 50,000 distressed women, mostly divorced and unemployed young girls of rural and urban areas, have become partially self-reliant, while many others have followed suit, supporting their families by making financial contributions.

However, the role played by local and leading NGOs like Grameen Bank, RDRS, ASA, BRAC in training, providing credits and supply of inputs including sewing machines, cannot also be discounted altogether. Their enormous support and unfailing efforts have made it possible for these women to make a living from their god-gifted skills.

The female sewers in both rural and urban areas are producing mainly garments like blouse, petticoat, kamiz, salwar, scarves, maxi, baby wears, shirts, pants, caps and other readymade wears.

Recent reports have shown that production of readymade garments made by handloom fabrics has been amplifying as more women widows, divorcees and teenaged girls are showing interest in taking up sewing as a profession.

Army-assisted training centers in villages like Pairaband, Kurigram, Gaibandha and other areas have also been imparting training to hundreds of these women and girls who are eventually being absorbed by garment factories and were even given offers to go abroad after completion of their course. Training courses at these centers are being run under the assistance of BKMEA and BGMEA.

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