Jamila Begum needs no introduction. This 47-year-old woman has made a name for herself in her village Jharbari of Birganj upazila, Dinajpur. She has been in a unique occupation for the last 20 years.
Jamila is a butcher by profession. She is the only female butcher in Dinajpur.
From buying cattle to preparing the beef for customers, Jamila is adept at her work.
Jamila has no formal education. She was married to a butcher too, Rafiqul Islam of Bogura district. But that didn't work out.
She said things were going well until the birth of her first child. Their mmarriage started gong downhill from then. She was pregnant again when they finally got divorced.
She returned to her parents's home in 2000 and had her second child. Jamila later opened her own meat shop with the support from her family.
Things were never easy for Jamila. Defying all odds, Jamila gradually advanced towards her goal. Her relentless efforts finally made her dream come true.
“My husband left me. Many people were against my business. Even some people filed complaints against me with the local police station and union parishad. But, now people encourage me.”
The bad days are over. Now she lives happily with her two children and the rest of the family. She has already bought 10 decimals land and erected a three-room building there.
She has five employees to help her at her slaughterhouse, ‘Mayer Doya Mangsha Bhandar’. Her son Zahurul Islam, 28, also assists his mother at the shop.
Nearly 4-5 cattle are slaughtered every day at her abattoir. She has a wide range of customers. People come to buy meat from nearby districts Thakurgaon and Nilphamari.
“I started selling meat for Tk 40-50 per kilogram. The prices have spiralled up to Tk 500,” Jamila said.
One of the customers, Afzal Hosain from Khansama upazila of the district, said he has been coming to Jamila’s slaughterhouse for a decade because of the good quality meat.
“The market has become popular thanks to Jamila bhabi. It has accelerated our business,” said another butcher Aynal Haque.