The just ended ‘Ekti Bari, Ekti Khamar – One House, One Farm (EBEK)’ project has improved livelihoods of 40,481 poor farm families here bringing them out of the clutches of money lenders as well as vicious cycle of poverty.
The beneficiary member-families of the 689 Village Development Samities (VDS) under all 76 unions in eight upazilas were provided with necessary training and revolving loans for income generation activities.
The families have attained self-reliance with assistance of the completely digitised EBEK project being run now by newly launched ‘Palli Sanchoy Bank (PSB)’ ushering in a new hope for their continuous development.
According to Bangladesh Rural Development Board (BRDB) sources, government launched the project to assist rural poor in attaining sustainable development through poverty alleviation, fund mobilisation, income generations and family level farming.
Talking to BSS, Amjad Hossain, 70, member of Gokulpur Gendarpara VDS under Haridebpur union said that he took Taka 10 thousand loan from his Samity in 2012, bought a heifer and invested rest amount in his small hotel business.
“After repaying loan through installments, I got Taka 30 thousand, bought another heifer and invested rest amount to expand my hotel business. I have now assets, including four cows, worth over Taka 2 lakh,” he said.
Member of Satmail Para VDS Jonab Ali, 55, said he received Taka 7 thousand in 2012 and then Taka 15 thousand in 2014 and took lease of one acre land.
“I cultivate various crops, including vegetables, on the land round the year to earn profits having assets worth Taka 2 lakh 50 thousand now after completing marriages of my two daughters,” he said.
Emdadul Haque, 42, member of Khaluapara VDS said, he took Taka 10 thousand loan from his Samity in 2012 first time to invest in his auto parts shop.
“I got Taka 20 thousand in 2014 and Taka 30 thousand this year for expanding my business. I have built a ‘pucca’ house, engaged three employees in my shop and have assets, including three cows, worth Taka 10 lakh now,” he said.
Alifa Begum, 40, member of Kursha Balorampur VDS under Mominpur union, said she took Taka 10 thousand and Taka 15 thousand loans since 2012, purchased heifers, goats and sheep with assistance of her husband Amjad Hossain.
“Currently, I have 4 cows, 5 goats and 10 sheep, 1.50 acres cultivable land taken on lease along with other assets worth Taka 5 lakh,” she said hoping to further boost her venture if provided with more Taka one lakh loan from PBS.
The project beneficiaries expressed deep gratitude to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for assisting them in improving livelihoods and launching of PSB after expiry of EBEK project to bring more rural people under such facilities.
Deputy Director of BRDB Abdus Sabur said the 689 VDS currently having own deposits of Taka 20 crore 27 lakh and distributed Taka 66 crore 87 lakh so far as revolving loans among member-families in the district.
“The VDS are being run now under supervision of PBS after expiry of EBEK project to assist beneficiaries in running small businesses or farms like fishery, livestock, poultry, nursery and vegetable gardening to achieve further success,” he added, reports BSS from Rangpur.