PKSF: Enabling the Specially Abled

Zobeda Akter, 27, was born in a poverty-stricken family in Mohanagar village of Syedpur Union under Sitakunda upazila of Chittagong district. Second among four siblings, she was born with a physical imparity that did not allow her to move or play around freely like the other kids around her would do. Her garment worker father could not afford the necessary means so that she could commute to school. Confined to the walls of her home, she was widely seen as a burden of the family.

In 2014, Zobeda joined the Special Savings Scheme, a specially designed programme of PKSF for disadvantaged people like her. Her mother would put aside Tk 200 each month and deposit it to her account under the Scheme. Three years later in 2017, she withdrew Tk 5,323 from her savings and PKSF gave her the same amount as matching grants. For a person with a disability and no income source, it was a good amount.

Zobeda bought a heifer with Tk 7,000 and used the rest of the money to buy pigeons and chickens. The heifer is now a fully grown cow that is pregnant. The three pairs of pigeons have now increased to twenty. She also has about 50 poultry ducks and chickens and six turkeys. From there, she earns about Tk 2,000-3,000 a month. With the earning, she can meet her own demands and contribute to the family income.

Once considered a burden, physically challenged Zobeda is now an asset for the family, which can be corroborated by what her elder sister says: “Our parents would not live forever. The brothers will have their own families to take care of. Who would look after my sister? This question would worry us all. But with PKSF’s help, she now can earn on her own, which relieves us of our worries to a great extent.”