From where I stand: Rubia Aktar


Rubia Akter.  Photo: UN Women/Tapati Saha
Photo: UN Women/Tapati Saha

I migrated to Abu Dhabi in 2011, looking for a decent life. As soon as I arrived, I realized that it was not the job that I was promised. For six months I worked as a domestic worker in homes. The pay was not enough, there was no time to rest and no amenities.

Eventually, I found another job, where I could use my skills as a garment worker, but my passport was with the former employer and my visa status was specifically for domestic workers. I came back to Bangladesh empty-handed; I had no savings and didn’t know what to do next.

One day, I met a community development officer who was working with migrant women returnees. She said we could get a grant to start a business. With her help, together with four other women who were trained as garment workers, I applied for a grant and our proposal was accepted! We received Tk. 50,000 ($637) to start our tailoring business and a business license from the village council.

Now I earn enough to make ends meet and save some money every month. We made a profit of Tk.12,000 (approximately $153) within the first year of our business. With more capital, we want to expand our business.

I still have dreams of going overseas, but if I go again, I will make sure to have the right information.”

SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth

Rubia Aktar, 28, owns a small tailoring shop in Betila, Manikganj of Bangladesh, where UN Women provided economic reintegration training and grant support to establish cooperatives as part of the “Promoting Decent Work through Improved Migration Policy and its Application in Bangladesh” project, funded by Swiss Development Cooperation. Her work is directly related to Sustainable Development Goal 8, which focuses on promoting inclusive economic growth, and supporting productivity, decent job creation, entrepreneurship, and improved conditions for micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises.

Read more stories in the “From where I stand...” editorial series.