Hiroli Biswas, an adult project development group member tells her 'Most Significant Change' story, resulting from a project focus on equality between men and women.
I 'm Hiroli Biswas, from Dokhin Balia village. My parents gave me in marriage to my husband Horipod when I was 15 years old. He was a landless day labourer, so we were very poor. I did my best to support my family (husband, 4 children, father-in-law, mother-in-law) by running the household and a backyard garden. We were so poor that sometimes I had to labour with my husband in the fields. This was very painful for me. I was working from dawn to dusk and was worn out. It felt like no-one including my husband offered me any help or support. There was no-one to ask for help.
In 2008, the TCDC development project started in our village. I was encouraged to join the Golap (rose) women's self-help group, where eventually I served as treasurer. Although I am now 44, I learnt many new things including how to read, awareness of health and social issues, leadership and empowerment, human rights and gender equality etc. After learning about my human rights, I was not shy to request my husband and children to please help me with household work when possible. But my husband always answered 'no', this is your duty.
After showing no interest, eventually my husband attended a project community seminar on human rights and gender equality. He shared with me his new learnings about gender equality. He even started to help me with household work, although he felt very shy about this. He now helps me spontaneously without me asking. This is huge change for our family. My life is so much happier now, as my husband and I work together.
The Chandpur Total Community Development Centres (TCDC) project operates in 12 villages in Bangladesh with a multi-dimensional approach to poverty alleviation. One objective is 'Human Rights & Gender Equality'. A caring and civil society, based on love of neighbour, rule of law, justice and equality, human rights and gender equality - produce enabling conditions for more productive livelihoods and businesses. Studies indicate that when groups (or societies / cultures) with good social cohesion and interpersonal altruism, work together, they will outperform groups (or societies / cultures) without these values and practice. Studies indicate that when 50% of the population (females) receive freedom, motivation, knowledge and skills to be involved in employment or entrepreneurialship, there are increased levels of poverty alleviation and economic development.