Sugarcane Blossoms in Bangladesh

Children gathered around sugarcane field

Children help gather sugarcane from the field.

I recently traveled to Food for the Hungry’s Habashpur project in mid-western Bangladesh. It was there I met one of our beneficiaries, Hashi Begum.

She shared her story about how her father was a poor farmer. How it was difficult for him to provide for his children. Hashi studied and graduated from eighth grade in 2001. Later on in that same year, she got married at age 13.

She married into a poverty-stricken family, as her husband was the only income-earning member. He had a hard time managing and providing for expenses.


Hashi and her children.

In 2004, at age 16, Hashi delivered her first child. A few years later, she had two more children. I can imagine how difficult life was for Hashi. She shared with agony that she raised three children, without being able to provide for their basic needs.

In June 2013, Hashi joined FH’s savings group. The group trains women how to read, manage finances, save money and start income-generating businesses.

She learned how to read and write and handle the basic accounts of the savings group. Now she is the cashier of her group.

She also started providing tailoring training to the other women of her community, so they can also run their own businesses and bring change to their lives, which Hashi has brought to her own.


Hashi working in her sugarcane field.

Hashi was explaining to me how she made a profit. She says, “This year, I invested 15,000 Taka cultivating sugarcane and sold the harvest in 30,000 Taka. I made a profit of 15,000 Taka 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.”

I could see the joy when she says, “I am very grateful to FH/Bangladesh for providing me with support. I hope other women of the community will also be able to change their lives like I did. ”

Harvesting Sugarcane

Hashi’s husband harvesting sugarcane.

She was excited to share with me that her husband Jillur Rahaman also encourages her work. I have noticed that after FH started working with the community, the mentality of men has changed toward women.

The men encourage women to contribute to the family income. When you partner with FH, you’re encouraging every human to reach their God-given potential.