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Case5

A Natural Women Leader

The story is about her becoming SHAHNAJ PARVIN from an innocent housewife, when involved with Unit Development Committee (UDC). Shahnaj (age 35) is a progressive social activist living at Ward 29 in West Madar Bardi of Chittagong. Her little income was coming from her private coaching and she invested her income to manage her husband‟s small shop to support family. It was too tough to manage her family maintenance and children‟s educational expenses. She tried to find out the way to get rid of the situation. She believed that she can do something.
Meanwhile NSA project has been started their activity and joining in meeting she knew about its activities, working plan, at how they could be benefited etc. New learning made her enthusiastic to join at Unit Development Committee (UDC) and with all presented people‟s concern she was selected as treasurer. Different meetings, discussion sessions and interaction with service providers assisted to built her knowledge about government and non-government services for marginalized people, like, health services, free medicine etc. and also learned about their rights and where to claim it. All these learning made her capable and confident to support poor people through expressing her natural leadership. Shahnaj started to build up relationship with several govt. and non-govt. institutions to arrange meeting with officials and training sessions at their ward office. With the help of NSA project Officer and ward commissioner Saidul Islam Tulu, Shahnaj Parvin arranged a „human dialogue‟ with the subject matter of „safe maternity and child health.‟ In presence of urban health centre (Mamata)„s supervisor Vijan Kumar, they focused on primary medical service, pre and post maternity health, child health, communication with hospital, lack of satellite clinic etc. In consequence, a satellite clinic was set up and 35 families got red cards for free medical treatment. In the meantime for constant communication with ward office, a good relationship was built up between UDC members and ward commissioner Tulu. Being noticed Shahnaj Parvin‟s common leadership attitude, energy and enthusiasm, he selected her as president of Women Ward Development Committee during the formation.
At the time of ward budget tracking UDC members arranged a meeting with commissioner to implement their action plan, as consequences a school is established for child education. Since he was informed about Shanaj‟s coaching, he referred her to work as the teacher of school. Commissioner permitted to build up a schoolhouse on City Corporation‟s estate and donated 5000tk. The rest amount of 9000tk was arranged by Shahnaj herself and her husband built the school himself without any charge. The number of the student of this school is 40. They got every educational materials of their own and monthly 160tk per head. Most of the students are child labor. NSA pays Shahnaj monthly 1500tk as her wage and 1500tk as house rent per month. Besides, with providing coaching to all most 17 students she gets 2000tk monthly. Now she is a self- dependent woman. With her income she can help her husband in business. She was refreshing her memory as said, “When my elder daughter was appearing at S.S.C., I was scared and have to manage money for her form through borrowing it. But now I‟m solvent. My daughter is appearing H.S.C. exam and I‟m schooling my two sons in a well known school of Chittagong and I bear all of their educational expenses. Now people come to me to seek advice. My husband also prefers me more than before and peace is not illusion now.” But she dreamed for a permanent school under direct concern of City Corporation. She wants to take part in social change by continuing the school activities and dreamed of a colony where no one will be illiterate.

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