08 Mar 2016
Khadija Begum—an independent woman from an extremely poor family living in the urban slums of Gopalgonj—took over her new leadership role as a Councilor for Gopalganj Pourashava. Khadija is the women in the middle wearing a grey scarf.
“I am very excited that the people trusted me with community leadership! I am now working for the poor to prove myself worthy of their trust. I am focusing on key challenges in my community, such as eliminating violence against women, preventing early marriages, supporting disabilities and promoting children’s education. I am also a member of the Women Development Committee and I believe that unity among women can turn all challenges into opportunities.” Khadija succeeded over adversity through her hard work and determination. Key to realizing her potential was the availability of the right kind of support. Starting out as an extremely poor woman living in an urban slum that afforded no jobs or opportunities, she is now an elected councilor working to improve lives in the community and helping women and girls overcome poverty- and gender-based challenges in Bangladesh. “I always wanted to become a leader, but I didn’t know how. Before joining the programme (Urban Partnership for Poverty Reduction), I was only a labourer with a seven-year-old disabled daughter. There was no platform for my voice to be heard. My husband and I worked as cooks in the Bangabandhu college canteen to support the family. However, our daily earnings