Dhaka slum

Empowering women to earn income safely through microloans

Dhaka slum
A woman sweeps up garbage in a Dhaka slum.

Bithi and her husband left their families in rural Bangladesh and moved to the over-crowded city of Dhaka—home to 5 million people—in search of a better life. The only work they could find was in a garment factory, earning meager wages. The couple rented a small, one-room home in a slum near the garment factory.

Thousands of Dhaka residents, desperate for work, accept low-paying—and often dangerous jobs in garment factories. Others work as rickshaw pullers or day laborers.

The couple was barely surviving when Bithi became pregnant. She gave birth to a little girl named Jannath, which means “heaven.” Bithi was referred to a World Concern clinic so Jannath could receive immunizations. During her visit to the clinic, doctors discovered that Jannath had a hole in her heart. The family was referred to a local hospital where their daughter received treatment.

A woman sews in her business.
A young Bangladeshi mother operates her own sewing business, with the help of a World Concern microloan.

As Jannath grew, Bithi visited the clinic regularly for checkups. She built a relationship with the staff there, who support and encourage her to keep her daughter healthy. But they also noticed that Bithi was struggling emotionally and financially. Her husband blamed her for Jannath’s health problems. And their daughter was often left in the care of others so that Bithi could work at the garment factory.

Realizing that Bithi needed a better income to afford treatment for her daughter’s heart condition and to support herself and her family, the staff recommended her for a World Concern microloan. With Bithi’s first loan of $270, she was able to quit her job at the garment factory and start her own business as a seamstress.

She’s now able to care for her daughter full-time, and has hope for a better future, beyond grinding poverty and exhausting, long hours in the factory.

Microcredit training
Women receive training in business ethics through World Concern’s microcredit program.

World Concern microloans help thousands of women like Bithi transform their lives by starting their own businesses. Women who are helped through our microcredit program are provided with loans, training on how to profit from a business and ethical business practices, and ongoing support to grow their businesses – even hiring more women who need to earn income safely.

 

 

screen printing business
This woman operates a successful screen printing business in Dhaka, Bangladesh, with the help of World Concern.

Learn more and support a Bangladeshi entrepreneur with a small business loan.

Published by

Cathy Herholdt

Cathy Herholdt

Cathy Herholdt is World Concern's Marketing and Communications Director. With a background in journalism, Cathy honed her writing skills as a newspaper editor and now enjoys sharing the inspiring stories of those World Concern serves. She has served with World Concern since 2010.

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