At nineteen, Sumaiya Khatun's family arranged her marriage with an imam of a local mosque, a common scenario in Bangladesh. Being married at such a tender age, she had no voice in her family affairs and lived a miserable life due to financial insolvency.
The way Sumaiya has transformed her destiny is incredible. She now leads a social enterprise named 'Nakshi Kanthar Math', a field of embroidered quilt (a centuries-old Bengali art tradition) in a remote area of Chuadanga district.
In 2021, she received training from the British Council's LEAD Bangladesh project focusing on Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 8, which paved the way for her to become a social entrepreneur. This training focused on the core elements of business development, starting from initiation to implementation. It helped Sumaiya identify some of her potential skills, which she utilised in her business, eventually benefiting herself and the women around her. She is currently selling hand-stitched and hand-painted products both online and offline. Around twelve women working with her now are contributing to their family income and can send their children to school. Sumaiya has become a role model for other women in her community, and people are encouraged to follow her path.
Sumaiya said, 'When we started, our confidence was shallow; but gradually it became high with the evident profit increase. We are working hard to uphold our tradition. We hope to export our products worldwide someday by producing high-quality products.'