As a single mother, Monowara Begum had to muster all her courage to start a tailoring business in Bangladesh. Because of her physical disability, which hindered her mobility, her family worried she’d have trouble managing by herself. But with two young children to raise, she refused to let her disability slow her down.
So she took out a loan, rented a shop in Cox’s Bazar, and bought a sewing machine. In addition to making clothes, she decided to fill a gap in the market by producing reusable menstrual hygiene products because disposable items were hard to find in her low income community.
But while a hard worker and skilled seamstress, she knew little about bookkeeping or marketing. Determined to succeed, she met with iDE after learning about an education program to improve sanitation and hygiene in her area. It seemed like a good fit and with iDE’s support, she learned new business skills and was put in touch with suppliers who provide her with materials to make more reusable pads.
To promote her business, she also held community meetings to raise awareness about the importance of proper menstrual hygiene. “When I was getting divorced, I faced poverty,” says Monorwara, “Now, I can take care of my family's needs and send my children to school.”
What's next for Monowara
Monowara would like to expand her door-to-door sales territory to reach more adolescent girls with her message of self-reliance, overcoming disability, and the importance of proper menstrual health hygiene management.
- Water, Sanitation & Hygiene
- Local Distribution & Sales
- Food & Nutrition Security