Marriage can be one of the most important decisions a person makes — it's a real life-changer. While most people wait to marry in their 20s or 30s, in other parts of our world, girls marry young.
In Food for the Hungry's (FH) Habashpur project in mid-western Bangladesh, there is a woman named Hashi Begum. In 2001, she graduated from eighth grade. Later that same year, she married at age 13. Her life changed drastically.
She was forced to drop out of school and depend solely on her husband, who had a hard time managing and providing for expenses. In 2004, at age 16, Hashi delivered her first child. A few years later, she had two more children. She felt emotionally overwhelmed because she knew her three children would grow up in poverty, without their basic needs being met.
In June 2013, Hashi joined FH's savings group. The group trained her and other women how to read, manage finances, save money and start income-generating businesses. Every week, the women met and put in what little money they could into a group savings. Hashi learned how to handle the basic accounts of the savings group and became the group's cashier.
For the first time in her life, Hashi was dreaming again and pursuing goals for earning income. Then she decided to take another step and start an agricultural business with sugarcane. Through training from FH, Hashi learned how to grow sugarcane, harvest it and market it.
She explained how she financed her farming through the savings group: "This year, I invested 15,000 taka ($193 USD) cultivating sugarcane and sold the harvest for 30,000 taka ($387 USD). I made a profit of 15,000 taka ($193 USD) from growing sugarcane. I also made gur, a brown unrefined sugar and sold it in the market. My elder son is studying in the fourth grade and, as a mother, I can provide for his school fees and book supplies."
Now Hashi has hope for herself and her children. Her sorrows are fewer as she sees a path out of poverty for herself and family. "I am very grateful to Food for the Hungry for providing me with support," said Hashi. "I hope other women of the community will also be able to change their lives like I did."
Life is changing also for Hashi's husband, Jillur Rahaman. He no longer sees Hashi as a mere dependent, but now considers her as a life partner and encourages her in her work. You help make this kind of change happen all over the world as you work with FH to end poverty. Your support brings hope and inspiration to women as they develop skills to end poverty in their lives through savings groups or gardening tools. Together, we are helping to end poverty! Please share this story with your friends on your social media.