Banu, Bangladesh
Banu was orphaned at five years of age, and brought to Dhaka by her elder brother to work as a house maid. When she was thirteen years old, she was married to a daily laborer. Banu's husband died suddenly after the birth of their first child, and she was forced to beg from door to door to feed herself and her son. She began to work as a housemaid, bringing her son with her. After some time, however, she was no longer allowed to bring her son along and had to leave him with a neighbor. One day upon returning from work she discovered that her son had been kidnapped and there was nothing she could do.

Banu continued working as a housemaid, and married a man who already had a wife. Her husband's first wife forced Banu to do all the housework, and frequently beat her, Banu soon gave birth to a daughter. One day she overheard the first wife discussing selling her daughter, and Banu fled from her home.

Banu began borrowing 5-10 sarees from a moneylender and would sell them in the streets. Soon after she found out about BAWPA, she joined a group and began saving. After a while, Banu received her first loan of Tk 2,500 (US$60) and started her own saree business. She found out where she could buy sarees at a cheaper rate and in which season they sell best. Today, she makes a profit of about Tk 20-25 per saree. Banu continued her business and recently received her second loan of Tk 355 (US$8.50). She hopes that one day she will be able to afford an education for her daughter and that her daughter will never have to walk the path of life that she did.

Name of microfinance programme: Bangladesh Agricultural Working People's Association (BAWPA)
Source: Microcredit Summit 1997 - Institutional Profiles.

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