How Jorina turned her life around

Jorina pictured in Rangpur, Bangladesh. © BRAC 2015
“My husband left me all alone with two little children and without a home or food,” Jorina said.

Like many women who grow up in rural areas of Bangladesh, Jorina was married at a young age. In the years that followed, Jorina fell victim to domestic abuse and after she had two children, her husband deserted them.

Jorina managed to buy a piece of land and built a house to call her own. © BRAC
“I used to work as a house help and there I got rice to eat with my family,” Jorina said.

Jorina didn’t make enough money to send her children to school. She barely made enough to regularly feed them.

In 2005, Jorina was chosen to be part of BRAC’s programme to reach the ultra-poor —those living on less than USD 0.70 per day in Bangladesh. For 24 months, Jorina received weekly stipends, healthcare, a productive asset, as well as hands-on training in savings and financial management.

The programme, known as the ‘graduation approach’, has been proven to lift the poorest people out of poverty. Research recently published by the London School of Economics shows that participants like Jorina remain on an upward trajectory five years after the programme is complete.

Jorina now independently runs the largest general store in her village. © BRAC 2015
According to the Economist, “Seven years after the programme began [participants’] monthly consumption was almost one-third higher than it had been after two years. The gap between these women and the untreated control group grew much wider.”

BRAC’s graduation approach is being used internationally by governments, NGO’s, non-profits, and microfinance institutions.

Jorina’s entrepreneurship is not limited to a store only. She has leased arable land where she grows paddy and sells the rice. © BRAC 2015

After the programme completed, Jorina took several loans from BRAC’s microfinance programme and was able to open her own grocery store. She then paid back the loan with profits from her business.

“After nine years of hard work, I am now considered a respectable member of society.” Jorina said. “They respect my decisions and value my voice…. Once I had to plead for food. Now my income has increased so much that I can give free food to the poor villagers on Eid.”

To find out more about BRAC’s graduation approach visit ultrapoorgraduation.com

Jorina’s family is one of the 1.6 million households that has graduated through the programme. © BRAC 2015
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