Firoza, Nargis & Zarin's Story
Over the last 30 years Traidcraft has transformed many, many lives and our commitment to long-term relationships with producer groups makes a real difference. For many women this means clean water, education and food for their families but for Firoza Begum, who joined one of our first producer groups, Jute Works, in 1980, fair trade changed not only her life but the lives of her daughter (Nargis) and granddaughter (Zarin).
Thanks to a regular income and helped by a loan from Jute Works, Firoza and her husband, Hassan Ali built a better life for themselves and their four children. Sadly, Firoza died in 2006, but her legacy is still changing lives in her village.
“With the money she made, we changed our fate," said Firoza’s widow, Hassan Ali. "We made improvements and maintained all the expenses of the house and the education of our children – everything.”
That education meant their daughter, Nargis, was the first girl among the group members to attend school. After gaining a degree, she returned to the village to set up a school, which now has six teachers and 175 pupils.
"We are very proud of what my mother did," Nargis said. "It would have been quite impossible for me to go to university if there was only my father’s income. I want to stay in the village and teach the children.”
Jute Works Background
Adding value to local crops and raw materials is an important way to increase rural livelihoods. In Bangladesh this includes making products from jute – the major cash crop – and from clay. The latter is a Hindu tradition, so provides an income for some of the minority population.
CORR-The Jute Works is a registered charitable trust. It was established in 1973 to rehabilitate the war-widowed and war-affected poor, rural women of Bangladesh. The aim was to provide these women with work at home, producing handicraft items made from locally available jute. Over the years, The Jute Works range of crafts has widened and now includes terracotta products, which they supply to Traidcraft.