July 14, 2024, 7:47 pm

The story of Salma who never loses courage

  • Update Time : Saturday, June 15, 2024
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Salma, who never loses courage, is seen in the cattle market in Chattogram.

Ctg Correspondent:

The cattle market is teeming with people. Some are looking at the cows, some are bargaining. Others are taking care of the animals. Then again, some of the traders are cooking their midday meal. Amidst the hubbub, a woman in this busy market catches the eye. She is a cattle trader. She is feeding and stroking these cows she has reared with much love and care.

This is Salma Khatun. She was there Friday afternoon at the Bibir Haat market in Chattogram city. She is from Fatepur village of Nachol union in Chapainawabganj, some 570 km distant from Chattogram. She has a small farm by her home. On Wednesday this 34-year-old young woman came all the way with 14 cows to the port city. She is the sole woman cattle-trader coming to sell her animals this qurbani Eid. She has generated a lot of interest and curiosity.

Salma at the Bibir Haat market in Chattogram city.

She spoke to this correspondent about her life, about how she overcome so many obstacles to became an entrepreneur. She said she had graduated with honours from the department of philosophy in Chapainawabganj College. Then she got admitted to Rajshahi College and completed her Masters from there in 2016. After completing her studies, she got a job in a private firm. But then Covid came along and she was made redundant.

FROM FIRM TO FARM

Salma said, “After losing my job at the firm, I didn’t mope around at home. I was determined to do something and constantly was brainstorming about what I could do. Suddenly I thought about having a cattle farm. I bought a cow with my savings. In the beginning I would sell milk. The cow produced two calves and that is how I decided to have a full-fledged farm.”

She took a million taka (Tk 1 lakh) loan from the local branch of Sonali Bank and bought 10 cows. Within two years she had 20 cows and calves. In 2022 she took 10 of the cows to the cattle market in Bibirhat, Chattogram. That is the first time she ventured to do this. All her cows were sold on the day before Eid.

I always remain brave. Nothing daunts me. I never lose courage. That is why this long distance didn’t seem long at all, said Salma Khatun, cattle trader.

Due to personal problems Salma could pay much attention to her farm in 2023 and the cows were not cared for properly. She sold the cows locally. This is the first time she counted losses. But she didn’t give up. She took Tk 500,000 loan from the local branch of United Commercial Bank and began rearing cattle again. She had prepared 14 cows for this Eid.

“NOTHING DAUNTS ME”

It must be an arduous task travelling all the distance to Chattogram to sell cows. Salma Khatun says, in Chattogram there is a higher demand for small and medium sized cows. Many traders from her area come to Chattogram with such cattle every year. Also, in 2022 she sold all her cows at a good price. That is why she chose Bibirhat cattle market this time too.

Was she very fearful about this long trip with the cattle? She replied, “I always remain brave. Nothing daunts me. I never lose courage. That is why this long distance didn’t seem long at all.”

About her personal life, Salma said her only daughter was born in 2013. After that she and her husband get divorced. She was living in her father’s home and built up her farm on their family land. She mortgaged the land for a low interest loan. She is paying off the loan with the money from selling the cows. her daughter is growing up, now studying in Class 7. So life is going good for Salma.

Salma said that she grows very attached to the cows while tending to them. Speaking to reporters, she said, “Every time there was a crisis in life, I simply turned around again. I forget all my worries when working on the cattle farm.”

The other traders in the market are very helpful. Salma stays in the market till late, even 2:00am. She is staying at a house near the market. In the morning she comes to the market and prepares the cattle feed. Cattle trader Mohammad Ilyas of Chattogram tells  , “We haven’t heard of any other woman cattle-trader in any market in Chattogram. She is the only cattle-trader here this time.”

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