Nizam (27) is an inhabitant of North Bakalia of Chattogram City Corporation. Dependent on the incomes of his day labourer father, Nizam's parents could not bear education expenses of their children. Consequently, Nizam dropped out from school when he was in tenth grade. He passed idle time and remained jobless for eight years. He became frustrated at one stage as his life did not work out as he planned. Nizam had no financial support from his father. Moreover, lack of education, no engagement in any network and association made him bound to stay idle. Towards the year’s end, Nizam came to think about a training program on the economic opportunity offered by YPSA and ActionAid Bangladesh under A4I project from his peer. Being intrigued, he communicated YPSA office for further information and applied in the training course. After he was selected, he received driving training from SKUS, a private driving institute to which AAB and YPSA contracted out the training. After successful completion of the training, he got a three-month learner license from Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA). In the meanwhile, Nizam registered with Pathao (a mobile Apps-based ride-sharing company in Bangladesh). He purchased a motorbike by borrowing BDT 135,000 from a friend and started his new journey as a ride-sharing biker. Since last December 2018, he has been earning BDT 500 to 600 a day. He is to pay 20% of the aggregate sum to the Pathao as administration service charge. Apart from this, he spends a portion of the income for the repayment of the credit and leaves the rest aside for his future. As a result, the economic solvency of him and his family has increased. He is additionally valued by his family, friends and community members for his improved well-being. If he continues his work in this way, he can pay out his loan within the following couple of months. The case of Nizam is inspiring many young people to have a positive look at life. He himself is also working to make young people aware of a life that is dignified and fulfilling. He believes that everyone as a potential to change their life. Nizam also believes that we should explore opportunities for self-employment rather than trying only to get employed Rokiya is a tailor of her life
Rokiya comes from an extremely poor, absolutely landless and farm worker family with six members sharing a one-room house in the Nagaghata village in Tala Upazila of Satkhira district. She is a very promising second-year undergraduate student at Satkhira Mohila College. When Human Rights & Environmental Action Development (HEAD) started working in her neighbourhood under A4I project, Rokiya joined them as a member of the youth group Jamuna. Her enthusiasm for working for the youth community and outstanding contributions in the group meetings drew attention of the HEAD staff. In recognition of her commitment to the group, the group members elected her as an assistant general secretary of the group only after a few meetings of the group. Rokiya experienced the dark faces of poverty throughout her life. In 2018, she was faced with the most daunting challenge in her life. Due to financial insolvency, her father was not able to support her education and wanted to marry her off. Determined not to give way to her father’s decision, Rokiya decided to do something to contribute to her family financially, fend off her marriage and continue her study. When she shared the problems and her plans with HEAD, they linked her to government’s Department of Youth Development (DYD). Rokiya received tailoring training for 3 months offered by the DYD. In the middle of her training course, as she was struggling to procure money to buy a sewing machine to set up a tailoring business, her father frequently pressured her to stop her training course, give up her education and give her consent about getting married.
Even after successfully completed her tailoring course, she was ready to set up her own tailoring venture, but her father doubted her capacity and declined to invest in her venture. She again sought HEAD’s support. HEAD staff again provided her with a seed fund of BDT 3000 and convinced her father to give Rokiya a chance to make her dreams come true. Against all odds, Rokiya convinced her father and she bought her a sewing machine. Though she could not earn much from her business in the early days, she is currently earning BDT 9000 a month, which is almost close to her father’s monthly income. With this financial independence, she resumed her education. Now her father recognise her as an important member of the family. Her success inspired the local youth group members as well as other young people in her neighbourhood. She set an example that girls can earn their own living. Rokiya is now planning to expand her venture and participate in the youth group more actively to disseminate her learning. She has a dream to complete her study and establish a big enterprise to create employment for girls in her locality and to protect girls from the difficulties she has undergone.