This is a story of 25 years old Narzima Khatun, who is one of our women artisans in Amrapari. She is highly skilled in embroidering and stitching Khetas/Kantha. Amrapari has empowered Narzima, who is now able to sustain her family with the earnings from selling embroidered khetas.
Narzima was a girl with high aspirations and dreams but encountered many barriers. Her father abandoned the family even before she was born and her mother passed away when she was a year and a half. She was brought up by her uncle, who cared for her like his own daughter. However, he was a farmer the only sole bread earner of the family. Thus, she could not complete her school education beyond fourth grade owing to their poor financial conditions. Narzima fell victim to the tradition of child marriage and was forced to take up marital responsibilities at a very young age. She has two sons. The financial insecurities continued as her husband, a driver, barely managed to fulfill the family’s basic needs. To add to this, her husband met with an accident just before the pandemic hit. This incident was enough to tear Narzima apart but she stood strong against the odds and looked after her husband and the family. She had to take loans from moneylenders and relatives to meet the expenses.
The sudden lockdown brought further darkness into their lives as Narzima struggled to find any paths to tread on. Narzima could no longer bear the pain of her family and approached Amrapari group members for help. Today, she is an integral part of the Amrapari team. She says: “I feel privileged to work at Amrapari and feel happy to give a better life to my children as well as my family. I did not receive the love I deserved as a child and was abandoned by my father. Now, all I wish for in the coming years is to live a life of equality just as any man in the society and I hope to become debt-free by returning all the loans with my work at Amrapari.”