Background for women
Female emancipation is still a foreign concept in Bangladesh. Most women are expected to cook, bear children and just shut up. This has been the prevalent attitude for generations, and still no great urgency is apparent in bringing about changes.
Women are seen as the family caretakers and apart from that are only incidentally allowed to earn some surplus income elsewhere.
Polygamy (and divorce) are strictly in the male domain. Some men have more than one wife with children, but lack the financial means to provide even for just one family.
Parents are inclined to marry their daughters off to the first suitor, since this means there is one less mouth to feed. This practice means however that single women with children are an all too common occurrence.
Because the erstwhile husband soon proved to be disappointed with his bride, these single mothers are expected to provide for themselves and their children.
The first contact
During their first trip in October 2003 Lien and Joanna got in touch with a handicrafts salesman, named Dino. He showed lovely crocheted angels and Joanna got the idea to distribute these cute angels on Christmas morning in her church.
But Dino had more to offer, tablecloths in all kind of shapes and colors.
Sometimes beautifully embroidered and another time created with the special open embroidery technique. But tablecloths are not very popular in the Netherlands, so Joanna taught them to use their skill to create special duvet covers. But in Bangladesh they don’t use duvets. So it was tough to make them understand how to decorate the covers. Nowadays embroidery isn’t fancy so we stopped for a while.
But Dino’s creativity doesn’t end… in 2019 he started making quilts to decorate the foreigners bedroom.
Employment is the best way of support, so if you have any idea about producing items in the small tailoring shop of LEF for Life, please get in touch with us.
Result: Fair Trade products
Years of patience and guidance are needed to get the appropriate result. At our Facebook page we show the range of products the girls created through the years. If you’re interested, please get in touch with JW Support.
We collect money to support Dino and his team and if you ever visit Dhaka, please go and visit the shop to see and buy their products.
Buying items means directly support to the students.
Friends for poor people
In the past the ladies started a cooperation in the name of"Poorest Women Development Society”..
In a country like Bangladesh these kind of initiatives are very challenging, but if you persevere, you can achieve and survive.
By extending the activities with the school, Dino started a new organization in the name of“Friends for the poor people”and registered his foundation at the Ministry for Social Welfare.
However during the years he found out the difficulties to receive foreign donations and he started the process to change into an NGO(non-governmental organization).Along with this process he also changed the name into LEF for Life which has more positive vibes then the earlier names.
Originally LEF ((Love, Education, Food)means heart and in Dutch it means courage. Dino faced many challenges and it relay needs a warm heart and tons of courage to deal with them.
Slowly the activities will extend with the so called “Social Businesses” to create employment and internships and to earn money to continue the projects.
Dino never gives up and day by day new ideas are born to support the underprivileged children and youngsters from remote areas or slum background.