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Roksana: A Successful Entrepreneur

Struggle and determination bring happiness and changes in one's life. Roksana Begum is a unique example of this. As a role model of how to fight out poverty, Roksana won the "Best Woman Micro Entrepreneur of the Year 2013" award from CITI Group.

Roksana Begum, mother of a son and two daughters, lived in the village Nishinda of Valuka upazila of Mymensingh district along with her husband Mozibor. The family had to spend the days in trouble due to extreme poverty. Finding no other alternatives, she joined a garment factory as a worker. But due to poor salary and unhealthy environment, it was difficult for her to continue the job. Finally, after few months, she left the job. Roksana and her husband was continuously thinking of finding a way so that the family could survive. One day she came to know about Padakhep and its activities, especially microcredit program. She consulted with her husband and became member of Jonaki Mohila Samity under Valuka branch of Padakhep in 2004. She started attending the samity meetings and continued to

deposit her savings regularly. She took a loan of Tk.4,000/- in 1st and Tk. 8,000/- in 2nd installments. As she had experience in garments, she started tailoring in her house. In the next two years, she increased her savings instead of taking any loan. Padakhep recognized Roksana for her honesty and increased the amount of loan. In 2010, she took a loan of Tk.50,000/-. She started hotel business using the loan money and her own savings. With the hope of more profit, Roksana took a loan of Tk. 1,00000/-in 2011. She added Tk.1,50,000/-from her own savings with the loan money and started a paper cone (used in garments) factory. She did not stop there. After successful repayment of the loan, she again took a loan of Tk. 1,50,000/-in 2012 and Tk. 2,00000/- in 2013 with a view to expanding her business. She along with her husband and children worked hard for the factory. Finally, luck favoured and her dream came true. Good quality of the product and its huge demand in local markets gradually made the business more profitable. Last year her net profit was Tk.12,00000/-. She is now financially self-sufficient and can manage daily needs of her family quite well. Once Roksana and her family used to live in an earthen house but now they live in a building. She also rent out two houses for additional income. Now she has the asset worth two crore taka. Her elder daughter passed HSC in 2014 and the younger two are also going to school regularly. She hopes for their bright future. Roksana also created employment opportunity for some poor people of the locality. 35-40 people are now employed in her factory.

Roksana is at present a well known entrepreneur in her locality. Socially she has received recognition and honour. She and her husband now take decisions together and respect each other's opinion. Her award has created a wide excitement in the area and inspired people to transcend beyond the fringe of poverty. The award has also inspired Roksana to be more enterprising. She expressed her satisfaction and gratitude to Padakhep for the loan that made her life honoured and dignified. Self-confident and self-reliant Roksana dreams that her business will gradually give her more and more profit and one day she will have the ability to employ more poor people of the area and around.