By Dr Aynal Haque
RAJSHAHI, July 17, 2017 (BSS)- More than 35,000 women from slum and underprivileged areas under Rajshahi City Corporation (RCC) have come together in an anti-poverty savings scheme to raise more than Taka 12.5 crore.
The poor and extreme-poor people have gotten the path of eradicating their long-lasting poverty through self-managed savings and credit activities to some extent.
The activities are being managed by Community Development Committee (CDC), initiated by a recently phased-out anti-poverty scheme. RCC implemented the project.
RCC Executive Engineer Nur Islam Tusser said main thrust of the project was to improving the living condition and livelihoods of around 72,000 poor and extreme poor families, especially women and girls, in Rajshahi.
He said a total of 35,000 women saved around Taka 12.50 crore under 173 CDCs consisting of around three lakh populations in the metropolis till June last.
Against the savings, the community members received collateral- free loan for addressing their emergency needs and other family purposes and the credit figure has been cumulated to around Taka 17.5 crore.
After taking loan from CDCs, many of the members are operating different kinds of micro business successfully allowing them to have access to a regular income.
The poor communities operate their own savings scheme along with creating a revolving fund from which credit operations are managed through the savings credit program generating a new dimension towards women empowerment and curtailing urban poverty.
Saving of Ganpara CDC has been raised to more than Taka 20 lakh while Taka 17 lakh was saved by Natun Budhpara and the entire money is being managed and used by the community members for their own welfare purposes without any outside intervention.
Mayor of Rajshahi City Corporation Musaddique Hossain Bulbul said the community savings and credit activities have been adjudged as an effective means of addressing some of the challenges to some extent.
Ummaton Begum, 37, of Ganpara CDC, has become a successful grocery shop owner as she pays monthly installment of Taka 7,350 against her credit of Taka 70,000 regularly through operating her shop besides leading her four-member family.
At present, Jahanara of Baganpara is owner of an auto-rickshaw and enabled herself to bring out from the vicious cycle of poverty. Locals Selina and Sonabhan also stated the similar success story.
Taka 8.78 lakh were disbursed among 224 community members under Firojabad CDC till last month, says cashier Sabera Yeasmin.
"We are working to address emerging challenges in poverty eradication through scaling up the innovative solutions by ourselves within the CDC system," she added.
"It couldn't be said certainly that all the members have become successful through the money transaction activities but some of them are doing well," said Mayor Bulbul.
More schemes needed to eradicate urban poverty in the city alongside eliminating other poverty linked social crimes especially addiction of drugs and its trafficking in the wake of gradually rising slum, poor and extreme poor people.