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■ The Recent Cooperative Activities in Our Three Villages, the South Bangladesh (2011/8/2)

Today I will report the recent cooperative activities in Kamarkhati, Jalabari, Asua villages where Cyclone Sidr hit in the south Bangladesh in 2007.

We, KnK, have been running small sewing and weaving vocational training centres in 5 cyclone-affected villages - including the above 3 - from 2008 through the Grant Assistance for Japanese NGO Projects by Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.

The Sewing Vocational Training Centre in Kamarkhati village.
The electricity is not available yet.

Village women leaning the pedal sewing machine for the first time. The centre is always filled with laughter.
At Jalabari village.

Student`s work. Gorgeous!

While single and married women in villages are the main targets for our vocational training, it is difficult for women to acquire independence or empowerment in the closed village society by themselves. Therefore, this has been a focus of our training activity; for example, most of the women learning sewing in our centres used to have few opportunities to do so. However, after six months or one year of training, they now have enough knowledge and skills to make child clothes, saries or salor kamiz (traditional Bangladesh clothes), and they can now earn some money by getting orders from their neighbors and friends – boosting their status at home and in public.

With this progress, since 2009 we have launched the “cooperative” in villages in order to sell graduated students` products in local markets, enabling them to make money. So far, we have established three cooperatives in Kamarkhati, Jalabari, and Asua villages and around 20 and 30 graduated students have joined as cooperative members in each village.

On the monthly meeting by the cooperative members. Talking about and checking the qualities of their new products.

Although the village women did not know market ways when the first cooperative was launched in 2009 – not knowing the answers to questions such as “what kind of designs for child clothes would the local shop keepers want,” “what quality should the products be,” or “how much should the clothes be sold for”, they are now developing this understanding.


Checking the finishing quality by having a village child wear the new sample.

Brand new collections by Asua village Cooperative. It suits for hot Bangladesh summer!

April 2011, we held a five-day intensive training course in Dhaka, the Capital, in order to teach management and good design. Seven women attended and learned the basic/advanced knowledge to use sewing machines. They also tried out the electronic machines for the first time (since electricity is not available yet in villages) as well as making male Y-shirts. Inspired by this Dhaka training, their designs for child clothes have developed rapidly.

Using the electric machine for the first time.

Well done! Success on making the button holes!

Mr. Shofique, our new marketing officer. He is ready for anything even stitching buttons or ironing!

For this fiscal year, we have secured a marketing officer from Dhaka, named Mr. Shofique, a very proficient salesman -cum- marketer, who will focus on the order collections from the local markets for cooperatives` products.

A new challenge faces our weaving training centre. Currently it makes traditional cotton towels called “gamsha”. However, it is now making some new fabrics that could be better suited for Japan markets. The picture of cushion covers below is the first trial for that, and it has a hand-made feel. In the near future, the centre will try to make another new fabric for an ecologically-friendly bag by taking advantage of this hand- made texture and 100% cotton. Ideally, we will export such hand weaving products to Japan from our cyclone affected villages.

The traditional weaving machine in the training centre.

Daily used cotton towels called “gamsha.” These are all our products.

The first trial fabric for cushion cover. It`s 100% Cotton, hand weaving texture.
Reported by Karin Taira (Project Coordinator)
Nonprofit Organization Kokkyo naki Kodomotachi (KnK)
4-3-22 ShimoOchiai Shinjuku-ku Tokyo 161-0033 Japan
Tel:03-6279-1126  Fax:03-6279-1127
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Copyright (C) 2006 Kokkyo naki Kodomotachi All Rights Reserved.