Abused women migrants turn self-reliant

Md Owasim Uddin Bhuyan | Published: 00:09, Feb 23,2020


Seven women migrants, who were sexually abused by their employers in Saudi Arabia and later abandoned by families after returning home, have finally turned their backs on their misfortunes.

They got united and started catering services in Dhaka and in three months they became self-reliant ushering other returnees the hope to survive, said officials.

Zabeda Begum, Mosammat Banu, Asma Akter, Shahnaj begum, Masuda Akter, Runa Laila and Dalia Akterreturned home in 2019 from Saudi Arabia facing abuses and exploitations there. One of them returned pregnant and gave birth to a girl on return last year.

As the female migrants were sexually abused by their employers, their husbands and the families refused to receive them.

BRAC migration programme received them and provided with emergency support after landing at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport.

Shariful Hasan, head of BRAC migration programme, said that on return, these migrants were provided constant counseling for survival and reintegration.

‘At one stage they informed that they would do better in catering services, he said.

One of them was good in management and after consulting her, BRAC provided each of the victims with Tk 65,000 as grant and making Tk 3.90 lakh as capital for the six women to start a joint business called ‘Dhrubatara Catering Service’, he added. Another one joined the six later, he said.

In October, 2019, the women rented a house in Dakkin Khan of the capital where they prepared foods and supplied those to different offices and markets in Banani, Killkhet, Uttara and airport areas.

Dalia Akter, who works as manager of Dhrubatara Catering Services, said that she used to take order and ensure supplies to the customers.

She told New Age that she had returned home on August 26, 2019 facing tortures of the employer. She jumped off the second floor of the employer’s home to escape abuse but her legs were broken, she said.

On return, her husband refused to receive her, said Dalia who had to return within 14 months of her migration.

Dalia,22, said that she joined the team of the returnees and began new life with them.

She said that in December they had a net profit of Tk 45,000 after deducting all costs and shared the amount among themselves.

Dalia said that they supply about 150 lunch packets and 100 dinners daily among customers Banani, Killkhet, Uttara and airport areas. The price of each meals range between Tk 100 and Tk 120, she informed.

Dalia dreams of expanding their business in the coming days and giving message to other returnees to change their fortunes in their style.

Migrant rights activist Al Amin Noyon told New Age that he had helped the seven women returnees on return home to start their catering business.

He asked the government to help other returnees to get them reintegrated with society by making them self-reliant.

Since January this year, at least 300 women migrants returned home from Saudi Arabia, according to BRAC migration programme.

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