Afroza: A story of a young entrepreneur

Afroza, an 18-year-old young woman, living in Uttar Pahartoli of Chattogram City Corporation area of Bangladesh. This area is full of domestically migrated marginalised people who come from different districts in order to find a job. Lack of social awareness, prejudice, gender-based violence, child marriage, drug abuse are the common challenges in this area. Among all of the challenges, women, especially young girls are in the most vulnerable situation.

They are deprived and harassed in their day to day life. Mental and physical harassment at their workplace in the form of scolding, teasing, low wages and insecurity are the most common experience of the working women. These experiences discourage the young women in working outside home. Young people are not fully aware of services (e.g. training on different trades) that different local service providers offer to young people to develop their skills to prepare them for employment and entrepreneurship. Being a marginalised unmarried young woman, Afroza had to depend on her parents for her living and educational expenses. Her day labourer father was the only earning person for the five-member family. Her father’s income was too poor to take care of all the members of the family. Basic needs like education and food seemed a luxury for Afroza. Consequently, Afroza had to drop out of her school in order to help her

mother in household chores. She left her school also to make way for two of her school-going younger siblings to continue their education. However, Afroza always dreamt to support her family financially and wanted to get back to education again. She was looking for an alternative income-generating activity that would help her learn and earn simultaneously. However, but she did not know how and where she could go.

When Afroza came to know that BITA was working with young people, she joined a youth group. She attended regular meetings arranged by the youth groups. BITA created job opportunities for young people through Department of Youth Development (DYD) of Bangladesh. Like many others, Afroza received training on beautification.

Together with 10 other young women, Afroza completed 21- Day beautification training, in which she acquired hands-on skills on child and women beauty care. After completion of her training, Afroza earning a little money by providing beauty care services to her neighbours. This was a huge motivation for Afroza to start her own income generating
endeavor.

Gradually, she was confidant to develop her initiative as small- scale business. Now she is getting orders for various services like wedding grooming, haircuts and

earning, and earning BDT 1000-2000 a day. She spent a portion of her income to help her family and spends a portion on her own education. She is very happy to be back to school.

Afroza is now confident and able to fulfil her basic needs like food and education with her own income. Alongside, she financially supports her family, which she has always aspired to do. Also, she is planning to expand her business and to train m and employ them in her business. Her plan is to provide more services as these are in high demand in her area. Afroza has become an example of self-employment in her community. Her popularity encourages other young people to realise their potential and explore existing economic

opportunities.

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