Twenty-eight-year-old Muslima Akter left her job in Dhaka two years ago to tend to her ailing mother at Bharashimla under Satkhira’s Kaliganj Upazila. She was a graduate of UNDP’s Strengthening Women’s Ability for Productive New Opportunities (SWAPNO) project, and had already worked at a garments factory in Dhaka for a year.
“I began working as a tailor in the village, but the income from sewing and selling clothes was meagre in the village, especially amid the coronavirus outbreak,” Muslima recounted.
She was recently able to find work at Shunipun Garments alongside 68 other women from the district. SWAPNO has an active presence in the area, and Muslima was eager to join the mini-garments Shunipun as soon as she heard about it.
“I’m glad I have this job now. I feel less worried about the future,” she said.
Shunipun is a joint initiative of UNDP and UNCDF under SWAPNO project. This mini-garments factory is the partner organisation of an effort to develop and expand the local apparel market that will benefit the extreme poor and vulnerable rural women in Bangladesh
Shunipun envisions manufacturing around 60,000 apparel units (shirts) and earning an estimated revenue of USD 370,588 annually. The volume of manufacturing and earnings is expected to increase over time. Increasing profit margins of Shunipun will help raise remuneration and benefits to staff, including women, over the years. The factory will eventually be better-positioned to provide additional benefits to workers such as bonuses, service benefits, and pension benefits while being a sustainable source of income.
Alongside promoting decent work opportunities for 78 people (68 women who are ultra-poor, widowed or divorced, and 10 underprivileged men), Shunipun will contribute to market-based skills development and enhancing incomes while also aiding the scaling-up of businesses in Satkhira and adjacent districts. It aims to increase the beneficiaries’ household income by an estimated 75 percent and leave a positive impact on their personal and familial health, education, food, social safeguards, and empowerment.