Stories of our artisans
Aarong grew from BRAC’s mission to empower women in rural communities across Bangladesh. Aarong’s work with artisans came with an opportunity to earn an income in areas where employment opportunities were limited, especially for women. However, BRAC has always emphasized that real progress can only be achieved through a holistic approach. Hear about how Aarong artisans have benefited from other BRAC initiatives through their lives.
Aarong Health Security Scheme:
In 2018, Hira (37), an artisan based in Faridpur, underwent a hysterectomy procedure after receiving a difficult ovarian tumor diagnosis. "I lost all hope," she said, "and wasn't sure whether I could ever get myself treated. Aarong supported me at that critical moment by giving me the money I needed for the surgery.”
99% of the artisans of Ayesha Abed Foundation received HSS benefits in which 27% availed benefits more than once so far since inception. 75% of the artisans now seek medical facilities from formal health care institutions rather than visiting traditional unqualified practitioners. 96% of the artisans of Ayesha Abed Foundation are aware of taking medical treatments from the formal medical institutions.
Rehana (40), of the Rajbari Ayesha Abed Foundation, used the Artisan Development Initiative Program to have her daughters finish pre-primary, primary, and secondary schooling in BRAC schools. She explained, "I could not continue my schooling owing to the economic difficulties and had to get married at a young age. I did not want my daughter to undergo the same fate and wanted them to settle well in life. Working for the Aarong and Ayesha Abed Foundation is certainly a blessing because it made it possible for my daughter to attend BRAC school and receive an education.”
AAF employees in rural communities obtain education support from BRAC such as free schooling for their children.
The Pabna Ayesha Abed Foundation's Firoza (35) revealed, "I took many microloans for my daughter's schooling, to buy property, and to build my house. My daughter is pursuing an MBBS and is currently studying paramedicine. With Aarong by my side, I am putting in a lot of effort to realize my daughter's goal.”
In a similar manner, the Ayesha Abed Foundation, Aarong’s production hub and numerous other independent producers have been empowering the home-based artisans all throughout Bangladesh.
From its inception, AAF and Aarong focused mainly on rural women artisans by making small loans available to them through BRAC’s microfinance programme and enabled them to take charge of their lives, make improvements for themselves, their families and their communities.
Apart from this, AAF artisans have received financial assistance from BRAC during the lockdown period and were provided with advance wages for up to 4 months.