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Shoe making makes 2,500 women solvent in Rajshahi

RAJSHAHI, May 23, 2018 (BSS)- More than 2,500 women have become financially solvent through making shoes during the last couple of years at Kaluhati village in the district.

The village under Charghat upazila has become dignified by dint of its house-to-house footwear factories and is famous among businessmen from different parts of the country.

According to the sources concerned, the village has around 65 shoe factories employing around 7,000 people and around 2,500 of them are females involved in the shoe-making and its allied activities at present.

Side by side with their working in the factories many of the women become small-scale entrepreneurs of manufacturing shoe-packets, bag, key-ring, purse and wallet.

Morjina Begum, 40, wife of Faraj Ali, has been working at Konika Shoes Factory for more than six years. She earns Taka 300 to 400 every day. She also operates a factory named 'Bhabna Bag and Box' in her house employing 20 other women.

She initiated the business with primary investment of Taka 20,000 around three years back and now her capital investment stood to around Taka three lakh.

While visiting to the village, nearly 30 km away from the Rajshahi city, recently this reporter found that the villagers are running small-scale footwear factories and shops almost everywhere.

The shoe factories flourished in the village with financial and technical assistance of Small and Medium Enterprises Foundation (SMEF).

"I started my own business in 2015 after I have learned the technical know-how while working for another entrepreneur," Marzina said. She now runs the business after managing household tasks in her five-member family.

At present, most of the families are solvent and self-reliant. Many families now live in brick homes with electricity.

Abdul Mannan, President of Kaluhati Shoe Industry Owners Cooperative Samity Limited, says most of the villagers make footwear from leather and synthetic fabrics using traditional method and the raw materials are procured from the capital Dhaka.

Some women have become successful entrepreneurs like Marzina Khatun who has been running her own business for the last three years. He said the village witnessed a significant change in the last seven years on the back of successful footwear business.

A number of backward linkage services like printing and packaging are also growing in the area centring on footwear manufacturing. Referring to the excellent skills level of workers, he said: "If we are given required support, we can export our goods."

"We are working here for boosting capability and efficiency of the entrepreneurs for successful business promotion," said Abu Monjoor Sayeef, assistant general manager of SMEF, adding that initial investment was Taka 46 crore and recovery rate was hundred percent.

All the prospective issues were taken into consideration so that the cherished goal is achieved within near future.

Dhaka Bank Limited (DBL) is working here as working partner and it has invested Taka 60 lakh among the potential entrepreneurs.

"We have another investment proposal of Taka one crore for promotion of working capital," said Samiul Haque, assistant vice president of DBL.

Masum Billah, manager of SMEF, told BSS that the business volume is now on rising trend significantly and present yearly turnout is around Taka 47.73 crore.

"We are very much hopeful about resolving the existing problems being faced by the entrepreneurs", he added.