Support Women Dairy Farmers in Bangladesh!

Every year, vulnerable river communities like Panjar Bhanga in Bangladesh are hit hard by extreme weather conditions. In the dry months before the monsoon season, there is very little work and people go hungry, while during the monsoon families survive on meagre portions of dried food, and their land and homes are often washed away.

Women in these communities are particularly vulnerable and marginalised. Social norms and husbands’ restrictions mean that they have to stay at home, and are not recognised as wage-earners.

Women have always reared cows in Panjar Bhanga, but are not always able to earn a reliable income from dairy production. It is considered inappropriate for women travel to market, so they have to pay considerable transport costs and fees to middlemen, or rely on husbands – who may spend the money on themselves rather than the family.

Oxfam’s mission

Oxfam and its partner Social Equality for Effective Development (SEED) are helping women in Panjar Bhanga to earn a reliable, year-round income by rearing dairy cows and selling the milk collectively.

Oxfam and its partner have:

  • Provided cows to the most vulnerable families, as well as providing training on keeping them healthy and productive.
  • Helped women smallholders to form a producer group, so that they can share knowledge and resources and sell their milk collectively.
  • Set up links between producers and a dairy processing company, Rangpur Dairy. Producers now sell their milk directly to the company, giving them a guaranteed price and removing the need for middlemen.
  • Provided financial support, such as helping producers invest in their own transport to save on costs.
  • Helped the community access services from local government and extension service providers. This includes veterinary services, 40-day employment schemes, support to repair roads, and grants to build sturdy cow sheds with concrete floors.
  • Provided training on disaster preparation (e.g. by storing food, taking cattle to a safe place, or setting up a food bank for vulnerable families),
  • Provided training on women’s rights, including preventing domestic violence and child marriage.

Aklima Khatun’s story

feb-appeal-aklima-66472

Aklima Khatun, a mother of four, lives with her family in Bangladesh. Before she became a dairy farmer, Aklima struggled to feed her family.

“My children used to cry and complain but eventually they got used to it. They realised there was no food at home.”

Aklima’s life has been transformed since she started selling milk. She can now earn enough to provide for her family. They’re now able to contribute to their household income, send their kids to school and are confident enough to take control of their own lives.

“Sometimes, we had days where we used to mix wheat and water and that’s all we had to eat. But now we have three meals, with rice, vegetables and fish, and we can eat meat four or five times a month. This project is the light of our life.”

Supporting Oxfam

The Wishing Well was established in 2010 to offer children in out-of-home care, such as foster care and residential care, a range of healing and treatment options usually not accessible as a free therapy in mainstream health.

The Wishing Well raises funds to enable children and young people to access developmentally-appropriate and trauma-informed treatments shown to be highly effective in dealing with severe trauma and neglect. These therapies respond to the unique needs of each child and young person.

The Wishing Well is a not-for-profit incorporated charity organisation, established and managed by people seeking to improve outcomes for children and young people in out-of-home care and their families.

The Wishing Well operates ethically, effectively and empathically with a view to achieving quality outcomes and a satisfying working environment, and as such we support such organisations as Oxfam as they encompass similar ideals.

The Wishing Well gratefully receives donations, funding and resources through bequests, corporate partnerships, fundraising events, grants, online donations and other fund raising activities. Please see our website for more information:

http://thewishingwell.org.au/

Take action!

You can show your support for women dairy farmers by joining with Oxfam in their mission to provide for Bangladeshi women:

https://www.oxfam.org.au/my/donate/women-dairy-farmers/

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