Nurunnahar Monzu is a woman leader from Kewra, a village in the Jhalakathi district of Barisal region of Bangladesh. She was born and grew up in an extremely poor family. Her father, a farmer, was the sole earner in their family. Her family faced such serious financial constraints that they were not able to send her to school.
They arranged Nurunnahar to marry a young man in their village. Her husband struggled to find employment and could not put food on the table for their family. Nurunnahar’s husband then divorced her in a demand for dowry.
Facing this challenging situation, MDG Union Coordinator Zakir Hossain advised Nurunnahar to get involved with The Hunger Project as a women leader of the Bikoshito Nari Network (BNN, Unleashed Women’s Network).
After attending the women’s leadership foundation training session with The Hunger Project Bangladesh, Nurunnahar learned skills about homestead gardening and started her own family garden. The garden now not only feeds Nurunnahar’s family and saves her money, but she has even been able to begin selling her excess produce to make a profit. Nurunnahar has also created a women’s savings organization to empower the women of her community. Since becoming involved with The Hunger Project Bangladesh in her village, Nurunnahar has a regular income and her family no longer struggles to find food. Her only daughter is growing up with adequate food, health care and in a good environment with access to education, and a mother who supports her attendance of school.
Nurunnahar is an active member of the Ward Action Team in her community and a member of additional decision-making committees in within her Union. She has shared her various income-generating initiatives with neighbours within her community, and has spoken about how the income-generating activities launched have given her a sense of “economic empowerment” and overall “progress.” Nowadays, Nurunnahar works throughout her union to raise awareness on early marriage prevention and hygiene education.