House ownership at Golapi Gram empowers distressed women
MAGURA, Aug 15: Poverty stricken Parul Rani, 30, a mother of three daughters at Madhabpur Village in Sadar Upazila of the district has been provided with joint ownership of a tin-shed building at Madhabpur Guchchhogram (cluster village) named as 'Golapi Gram' (Pink Village).
As a result, she has attained individual survival which has also empowered her in the family and the society.
Joint ownership of the house along with her husband Madhu Biswas has given her a resourceful status in the family, paving the way to pass her own opinion in making all the decisions regarding family affairs, Parul claimed while talking to this correspondent on August 2 last in front of her house at the 'Golapi Gram'.
"Steps taken by the officials of Sadar Upazila Nirbahi Office to provide the local distressed women like me with ownership of houses, has increased our self-respect," said Parul Rani.
"You have to admit that both in family and society, there is a great evaluation of property and assets whether it may be of huge or small amount. So, ownership of a tin-shed colourful building with two rooms on three-decimal land is obviously not an ignorable matter at least to ultra poor families like us," she opined.
"I can strongly say and firmly believe that this ownership has evidently strengthened my status and dignity not only in my family but also in the society," Parul continued uttering the sentence firmly.
Parul, who comes of and is married to a family from cobbler community, earlier used to live in the house of her father-in-law at the same village along with her three daughters and had to face unending sufferings due to lack of dwelling space of their own. Regular quarrelling among the family members over various issues was a regular phenomenon there.
To get rid of their agonising lives, Parul and Madhu tried their level best for a residence of their own but finally gave in as the tremendous efforts made by them went in vein due to unavailability of money and land.
However, Parul's agonising days for want of a house is now over due to grateful action taken by the Sadar UNO officials.
Apart from Parul's family, 14 other families including those of Mukti Rani, Sanchita Rani, Sadhona Rani and Rina Begum began to live here along with their husbands, children and other family members in this year's May, although the 'Golapi Gram' was formally inaugurated by Lokman Hossain, divisional commissioner of Khulna on April 17, sources at the UNO office confirmed.
Earlier, after constructing 15 different two-roomed tin-shed buildings on three-decimal land each under the project of cluster village, phase-2, they have allotted the houses of the 'Golapi Gram' under Jagdal Union providing the poverty-stricken women of the 15 landless families with ownerships through making written documents, UNO office sources said.
Twelve women having their husbands alive have been provided with joint ownerships of the houses along with the lands while three widows have got independent possession, official sources and this correspondent's visit revealed.
Before handing over to the respective families, all the 15 houses have been painted with pink colour for what the officials said the cluster village has been named as 'Golapi Gram'.
Ownership of their respective houses has enhanced the mental strength of the once troubled women, prompting them to lead their lives with self-respect, according to the beneficiary women at 'Golapi Gram'.
During the correspondent's visit to the 'Golapi Gram', many of the women, who were distressed earlier and to whom lives were completely meaningless, claimed that after getting the houses' ownerships, they have now attained survival in their respective families and the society.
According to those women, now they have been able to find out the meaning of their lives and also been capable to attain endurances of their own due to thankful step taken by the Sadar UNO office.
Once landless and troubled woman Unnati Rani 32, wife of Kartik Biswas of Madhabpur Village, who has also been allotted a house at the newly developed 'Golapi Gram', echoed the same as Parul and said share in the house's ownership has played a great and positive role in improving her family status and dignity.
Recalling her earlier agony of life, Unnati said they had been deprived of an abode to live in with their children for long and had been forced to reside to the house of her parents and even to that of relatives.
"Lives were completely meaningless and painful to us as we had to be worried earlier about the space for sleeping at night because my poverty-stricken father-in-law Mohadeb Biswas's three-roomed thatched house was on four-decimal land only where we had to pass our nights along with four brothers-in-law and mother-in-law," she told this correspondent.
"Now at least the misery due to lack of dwelling space is over paving me and my husband Kartik Biswas the way to pay attention in earning a living for my family of four," Unnati continued.
"Now I along with my husband am engaged in making winnowing fan, basket and other household commodities with bamboo-split and earn our living smoothly by selling those in the markets," Unnati added.
While talked with this correspondent on 'Golapi Gram', Khan Mazharul Haque, sociology teacher in Nakol Sammiloni Degree College in Magura, said, "In our family and society, dignity and strength of existence in many respects depend on property and wealth also. In that sense, Sadar UNO office has set up a laudable instance to empower the distressed women like Parul and 14 others through providing them with ownership of all the 15 tin-shed buildings."
Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Abu Sufian said, "From the very beginning of the implementation of the Madhabpur Guchhogram project, we have a plan to establish women's distinctive endurances for empowering them in the society. To put the plan into action, we primarily painted the newly built house walls and the roof's tin with pink colour in Bengali language which is called 'golapi'."
"Subsequently, 12 women, whose husbands are alive, have been provided with joint ownerships of the houses along with their husbands while three widows have got solo possession," Abu Sufian added.
"I think, although in a short extent, we have been able to achieve success in empowering those disadvantaged women through providing them with ownership of the abodes," the UNO proudly claimed.
Sadar Upazila Project Implementation Officer (PIO) Mohammad Nuruzzaman said, at the Golapi Gram, a total of 15 houses have been built on 45-decimal land at the cost of Tk 1.6 lakh each. Every house contains attached bathroom cum toilet, solar energy lights, and environment-friendly oven which were beyond the imagination of the dwellers.
Apart from the abovementioned facilities, the residents of the village have been provided with five tube-wells and a playing field for children.
"Golapi Gram at Madhabpur Village has already appeared as the model for implementing cluster village project throughout the country. You may be astonished to hear that many officials of different upazilas in other districts are now contacting with us to know the details of its construction works," the PIO proudly informed.