From where I stand: “Now I have bigger dreams”

Sufia Khatun from Pirganj, Rongpur, found herself without any source of income after her husband passed away. Through a joint UN programme, she was able to learn tailoring and get access to finance to invest in her own business. Today she employs 20 women in her community.

Date: Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Sufia Khatun.  Photo: UN Women/Fahad Kaizer
Sufia Khatun. Photo: UN Women/Fahad Kaizer


My husband passed away in 2013, and I needed to become economically independent. I approached the Upazilla (Sub-District) Women’s Development Forum (WDF) Chairperson to get support in starting my own business. I used to go there to learn tailoring and sell the products that I made.

Finally, in 2017, I met with members from UNCDF, UN Women and UNDP. I heard from them that they were supporting women entrepreneurs, through the Women’s Development Forum. I received BDT 3 Lakh (3,548 USD) and I bought three sewing machines and one thread sorting machine.

I trained myself to use the machines and started producing Shatranji [carpet], Nakshi-kantha [local embroidery], tablemats, traditional clothes and more.

I was ambitious and I wanted to expand. So, I approached Shonali Bank for a loan and eventually got granted 2 Lakh BDT (2,365 USD) to invest in my business. Today, I have 20 women working at my centre.

I still need more training and investment to fulfil my dream. I started working to be independent and to inspire others. Now, I have bigger dreams. I need new machines, more investments, to make more products, including better quality Shatranjis.”

SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth

Sufia Khatun benefited from a joint initiative of UNCDF, UNDP and UN Women, titled Inclusive Equitable Local Development (IELD)funded by the Government of Sweden. The programme facilitates women’s access to the labour market and entrepreneurial ventures by fostering local public and private investments in women-led enterprises and small businesses that benefit women as well as their communities.