Five women in Beanibazar, an upazila of Sylhet district, have struggled and grown beyond financial hardship to stand as examples for others in a conservative society - through their professional achievement, or as home makers.
These are the stories of the five Joyeetas (victorious) of Beanibazar:
Parul Begum, of Mewa village in the upazila, struggled with poverty since her childhood. She was forced to marry Abdul Hannan at her teenage years due to poverty.
She wished to continue academic studies even after his marriage. To their credit, her husband, a businessman, and in-laws backed her interest and allowed her to continue her education.
Sadly, her husband had to shut his business soon, having incurred huge losses. Amid the growing family problems, Parul started working as a private tutor while the husband employed himself in construction work.
Parul was skilled in sewing. At one stage, the couple got some money as loan from a local NGO and bought a sewing machine. After this, their income grew.
The chairman of local Union Parishad offered her a job to train local people in sewing at a salary of Tk 5,000 per month. After two years, she was elected as a member of the union parishad.
Currently, she runs her own farm with 25 hens, 23 goats, and eight cows. She is also the owner of a mobile servicing shop. Now the family is affluent.
Shilpi Rani Dutta, of Bilua village in Charkhai union, is another successful woman in Beanibazar.
She too was from a poor family. Her education was about to come to an end when she was a fifth grader. But she managed to survive the scare and passed her SSC examination in 1990.
She got admitted to a local college and took a job as a part-time teacher at a kindergarten school. On completion of BBA, she joined a primary school as assistant teacher. She has also worked in family planning, gaining the locals' trust and confidence by advising them on their most intimate matters.
The family planning connection surfaces again in the case of Shahjadi Sultana Begum. Being from a poor family, Shahjadi took up a job offered by the Family Planning Department after her SSC examination.
But she had to leave the job as her family forced to. The pressure got so hard that even her sister's husband threatened to divorce his wife if Shahjadi continued her job.
She then left the job and got married to an unemployed youth. Her husband left the country for Kuwait to earn livelihood. But he returned home empty handed as he failed to get any job in Kuwait.
Then, Shahjadi along with her family started to struggle. In the course of time, her eldest daughter migrated to the UK and got married there. Her son went to Kuwait after passing the SSC examination. And the youngest daughter completed her graduation from Sylhet MC College and left country for UK. She also got married there. However, the youngest son completed his BBA and MBA and is seeking job now. Shahjadi is the daughter of Haji Abdur Noor of Kargram vaillage of Alinagar union.
Rubina Akter Rubi, daughter of Md Nur Uddin of Khashirband village of Kurarbazar union, had to get married while she was a 10th grader due to financial crisis.
The couple was doing well. Her husband was willing to go abroad. But he became mentally sick suddenly. His family started blaming Rubina for this.
They tortured her both mentally and physically.
Being unable to tolerate the situation, she returned to her parent's place and started working as a trainer in a local women's association at a salary of Tk 4,000.
Besides, she took a job at a jewellery shop. Soon, she opened a shop of her own. Currently, from being unable to make her own ends meet, she employs and provides livelihood for 6 people at her own shop.
Another woman, Tajirun Begum, daughter of late Kala Mia of Pariyabahar village of Lauta Union, is renowned in the upazila for her outstanding contributions to social development.
Her father was killed when she was only 15. She passed her HSC examination with financial help from the local union parishad chairman. Later, she joined the Union Parishad as an office assistant.
She also started providing medical assistance to the poor at Shurjer Hashi clinic every Saturday.
Currently, Tajirun is playing several roles in society. Among others, she is serving as the president of One House One Farm project at the union, president of Boiragibazar Women Association and also as president of Community Satellite Clinic's Managing Committee.
Recently, she bought a house and 10 decimals of land. She was recognised as Joyeeta for her contributions to social development.