Basha’s Mymensingh production centre was started just eleven months after our initial opening in Dhaka in 2011. Mennonite Central Committee’s Pobitra training programme had seen four groups of trainees complete their programme and continue to show visibly transformed lives.
Basha recognized that so many more women could enroll in Pobitra’s programme if a supportive work place was available for them. Now Basha’s Mymnesingh centre employs 23 women producing Basha textiles. There are 21 children in the daycare. As each year draws to a close, between 10 and 20 new candidates divide their time between Pobitra’s training programme and Basha to help them transition to full time employment in January.
Basha’s Mymensingh team has a big job, but Mary, Parul and Glossy are up to the task. Here’s a bit more about them:
Mary Brooks joined Basha as the Day Care Supervisor, at the young age of 20, just a month after the Mymensingh centre opened. Mary loves spending time with the children and describes her work in day care as follows: “I’m not married yet but I have 26 kids in my workplace. I love to take care of them. I help the moms to raise their child in a healthy and happy environment. I teach the children and always keep them busy with activities outside their school. I also monitor their food habits and the foods provided from Basha to ensure that they get proper nutrition. I provide care to the toddlers and prepare them for school. It is my joy seeing the children getting educated and becoming good human beings before my eyes.”
Mary loved working with the children so much, she protested any time we suggested she take on a new Basha role involving more responsibility. In June, however, when the prior Operations Manager left Basha, Mary agreed to take on the position. Now, Mary is responsible for production and continues to supervise the day care, making sure the children receive loving care. Mary makes sure the women are motivated to work hard and feel supported. She is responsible for leading classes daily to help them learn and improve themselves. She also ensures that every product is made to meet Basha’s stringent quality standards. It’s a big job, but Mary has developed a rapport with the employees and is doing well. Mary says, “I always try to support the artisans and employees emotionally so that they can be successful in their work and lead a happy life. Sometimes I face some problems, but all my colleagues help me solve them.”
In addition to her work at Basha, Mary is in her second year of studying for a Bachelor’s degree. Once she completes her Bachelor’s degree, she hopes to earn her Masters degree as well. When not working or studying, Mary loves reading, listening to music, watching movies, and spending time with friends. Mary grew up in an orphanage, and has close relationships with the brothers and sisters she grew up with there.
Mary says she has learned many things from working at Basha. We are grateful for all she’s given to the women and children to help them succeed.
Parul was one of the first artisans to work at Basha and has always demonstrated ambition and leadership skills. She moved to Mymensingh with her three daughters to help open Basha’s production centre there in 2012. Parul is the Production Mentor, and her job is to help the artisans create Basha products in a positive environment, and to solve any problems they may be having with their work. Parul checks each product before sending it to Dhaka headquarters to make sure they meet all of Basha’s standards. As well, she helps source materials that are needed. Most importantly, Parul listens to the artisans so support them emotionally.
Paruls dream is to educate her daughters and to give them bright futures. She wants them to live lives which are respected. Parul says, “I love my job at Basha. It gives me the opportunity to live a dignified life. It also allows me to make a contribution to the lives of women who want to live a life of honour.”
Glossy Bishakha Mir joined Basha in July. She’s 24 years old and recently finished her final exams for her Bachelor’s degree. She lives in Mymensingh with her parents and her elder sister. Glossy was interested in working at Basha because she loves spending time with children. She says, “I’ve seen the children at Basha’s daycare are very joyful. They can find happiness in very small things. I always appreciate my work for this reason.”
Glossy’s hobbies are reading books and traveling to different places. She loves to spend her free time with friends and family. Glossy hopes to continue her studies for a Masters degree.
We are happy to have Glossy as a new member of our Basha team.
Basha’s vision is to expand throughout Bangladesh until dignified work is available to all. Opening our Mymensingh centre was our first step in that direction. The enthusiasm and service of this team is what makes it success.
“It is great to do what you love but greater with the great team.”
-Lailah Gifty Akita, Think Great: Be Great!