Shahidul Islam Sujan
MANIKGANJ, June 11: About 25,000 village women across the district are earning extra income by doing needlework on clothes during their leisure time.
Around two lakh dresses including panjabi, salwar, kameez, sari, and fotua, with different brand names, are expected to be sold in the coming Eid, according to field sources.
Not only aged woman but girls of different ages reading at schools and colleges are also involved in the work, and the money they earn from the work, are being spent to meet their necessary expenditure.
Though they work throughout the year, their activities gear up before the Eid and other festivals.
Around 25 years ago, the village women got involved in the work under an initiative of 'Ayesha-Abed Foundation'. At present under 80 centres of the Foundation, the village women are doing the needlework.
Besides the 'Ayesha-Abed Foundation', several other companies including 'Barnali Printers' and 'Nakshi' have also sprung up in the district on the basis of needlework.
Owner of 'Barnali Printers' Mohammad Ishaq said, "At present 25,000 women in Manikganj are doing the needlework. Most of them are working under 'Ayesha-Abed Foundation'. I have 500 women working under my company."
Owner of 'Nakshi' Rakibul Hasan said due to the increasing demand of the dresses made through needlework, the business is expanding day by day.
Asma Begum, a housewife of Mitra village under Manikganj Sadar upazila has been doing the needlework for the last 20 years. She said, "I was married to an insolvent family. With the low income of my husband, it was difficult to run the family. After two years of the marriage, I got engaged in the work. Now, I am earning much to run my family well. Besides, I deposited some money also."
Two friends of the same village - Nipa and Shammi, students of Class X, were doing the needlework. While asked, they said, "Besides study, we do the needlework regularly. Each of us earn about Tk 1,200 by working for around three hours daily. Now, we do not have to ask for money to our guardians."
Meanwhile, In-Charge of Ayesha-Abed Foundation's Palra centre Sazeda Begum expressed her grief over the wage rate. She said, 'A piece of panjabi with needlework is sold at Tk 3,000 to 10,000, but we get Tk 150 to 200.'
Several other women like Sazeda expressed the same, and said that each of them earns about Tk 2,000 by working for around seven hours in a month. They demanded that their monthly wage be increased to Tk 3,000.
In this connection, Mohammad Ishaq, owner of Barnali Printers, said that the wage is given according to the merit of the work. If anybody can perform the work with highest integrity and within minimum time, she is paid more.