SAJEDA'S BLOOMING BUSINESS
Sajeda, 34, is a super star in the growing flower industry in Bangladesh. Last year a Bangladeshi cellphone company featured her in one of their ad campaigns. Before that her face adorned a larger than life poster at a flower convention in the capital city, Dhaka.
How did Sajeda become a model business owner in the flower industry in Bangladesh?
Actually, Sajeda never planned to be a flower farmer. She used to help her husband, MD. Imamul Hossain, 50, in their field in southern Bangladesh but when he fell out of a tree and broke his back ten years ago she had to take over the business to support the family including their two children—Moynul Islam Joy, 10, and Tania Yasmin, 17.
She struggled to grow quality and quantity flowers at first. But, what was worse was she struggled to find buyers. She didn’t have a phone or buyers numbers so she had no way to contact them. Some days she would pick her Gerbera flowers, lay them in her basket woven of reeds/palm fronds, and wait by the roadside hoping a buyer would drive by. She didn’t know how else to find them.
After attending a training funded by USAID, she learned methods to increase production (including pruning techniques and planting north to south) and improve the quality of her flowers. She also learned how to better package them for transport and how to store them. The result: she doubled her production and income.
She then shared her newfound knowledge with neighboring farmers.
At the same time something else transformed her life drastically: a cellphone. It changed everything actually. Now she can call the buyers and they come directly to her house and pick up the flowers after she has harvested and packaged them.
After packaging her flowers in rectangular baskets woven out of palm fronds, Sajeda's workers carry the baskets loaded with yellow, pink, red and white Gerbera flowers to the roadside where they are loaded on to a buyer's bicycle-driven cart. He rides to Godkhala Market nearby where they are loaded with other farmers flowers into vans and transported to the capital, Dhaka to be sold and distributed to local boutiques and eventually displayed at events, hotels, restaurants and homes throughout the city.
With the increased income, Sajeda has made improvements to her house, paid for educational expenses for her children, paid off her loans and most recently she bought a refrigerator.
"Seeing my wife is earning more, other women are talking that if she can we also can do this," says her husband Imamul Hossain.
Results: After USAID Bangladesh shared this video on Facebook, they received 218K views, 13K reactions, and 1,920 shares.
Production: Mehedi Hussain
Translation: Mehedi Hussain / Ahsan Khan (USAID)
Videography: Josh Estey / Morgana Wingard
Photography: Josh Estey
Editing: Sarah Grile
Music: Ryan Huff