As many as 12,000 Bangladeshi women, taking part in a three-year programme designed to pull them out of poverty, have shown tremendous progress in just over a year.
The economic empowerment programme by the World Vision, an international children's charity, is also helping children of these women who previously had little or no say in family affairs or control of finances.
Mark Hammersley, the livelihoods capability director at World Vision International, travelled to Bangladesh in March.
In a blog post
on the Huffington Post, published on Monday, he noted dramatic changes brought about by the programme that helped the women and in turn their children, particularly girls who would often be married off at an early age.
The women could now foot education expenses of their children and make sure they were not malnourished. This, in turn, was pushing down school drop-out, child marriage and child labour, Hammersley noted.
"... Child marriage is being stamped out, too. One group told me proudly that they had stopped two child marriages, thanks to having autonomy over family income and therefore a greater say in what happened to their daughters. And they’re determined to prevent more,” he wrote.
Under the programme, the participants had been trained in gardening, poultry and livestock rearing. The women were also given chicken. Many other women have begun tailoring business.
"In a space smaller than an average allotment in the UK, they’re producing a kilo of vegetables every single day. Children, who before ate meagre portions of plain rice, are now eating fresh green vegetables every day, and meat several times a month,” he wrote.
The programme has helped the participants improve their living standards and grow stronger financially. It also made them determined to ensure proper education for their children.
"My daughter is going to finish school," one young woman told Hammersley, somewhat "defiantly" he noted. "She’s going to get the opportunities I didn’t have."