From splendid quilts to beautiful baskets, the women of Bangladesh are using traditional skills to change their families’ fortunes.
As climate change brings more extreme and unpredictable weather, disrupting lives and livelihoods, people are looking for alternative ways to earn a living, instead of solely relying on farming and fishing.
Step forward the women of Barishal district, whose skills in embroidery, weaving and basket-making not only provide a means of creativity and self-expression, but also generate a valuable income.
The items are handmade, using simple tools rather than mass production methods, and the techniques are passed down through the generations.
Women in Barishal make handicrafts to sell, earning a valuable income for their families and gaining a voice in the home.
Photo credit: Sonia Farja
Steady market and secure income
Our partner Christian Commission for Development in Bangladesh (CCDB) is helping the women to find a market for their wares.
It also supports them to organise and come together, so that they can negotiate with buyers from a position of strength.
Making a living from handicrafts used to be a challenge. Now that the market is steady, life is starting to change.
One of the project members, Sathy Vodro, says: ‘I am no longer dependent on my husband’s income. Now I have the means to provide for my child. This makes me happy.’
In Bangladesh, where women are often marginalised in the home, the simple act of earning an income means you are valued. It gives you a say.
‘As women, our confidence has grown and our status has improved,’ Sathy explains.
As the demand for products moves beyond wicker stools to wall-hangings, quilts, gift boxes and much more, the women are learning different skills and branching out to new markets.
Their future promises to be much brighter.
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