‘My heart is filled with dreams for Vabkamodhupur, sanitary latrines will be in every house of Damkura’– said Balal. Md. Balaluddin, aged between 23-25, a student of Rajshahi New Model Degree collage. Confident Belal talked about his plans to develop his union. While he was speaking there were signs of strong determination in his face. He started telling the true story of building their organization named Kalpana Multipurpose Cooperative. In 1998 Belal was selected as a member of a Village Development Committee -VDC (present name community based organization-CBO) in Vabkamadhupur village under Dhamkura union. Belal added that in the beginning as a member he was not serious. In 2005 Belal was selected as a Community Resources Person (CRP) by the committee members. As a CRP initially Belal was not aware about his duties. Later he attended many workshops on the roles of CRP. He actively participated all the workshops and enriched himself. Belal was able to understand that how important is the role of a CRP who motivates people for changing their terrible life.
Beginning of Kalpana Multipurpose Cooperative:
‘We targeted our life goals and thought about the possible ways of achieving them; we stirred up the belief that mental strength of people is the most powerful weapon to win in the battle of life’ – when Belal was talking his eyes were glowing with the rays of hope. Few years back he along with five other CBO members took initiatives to do something meaningful for the progress of the village side by side with CBO. In the CBO meetings members discussed a lot about new initiatives and in this process they sharpened their ideas. Belal added that DASCOH field facilitator Md. Khairul Islam who is now working in Damkura cooperated extremely by providing good advice. Finally at the end of 2007 Belal and few other members of CBO formed Kalpana Multipurpose Cooperative. Members of Kalpana started savings money by collecting Tk. 200/- to Tk. 1000/- from each member in every month. Later they realized that this amount of money is too small to start a business. After few months all the members of Kalpana saved a big amount (Tk 5000/- each) together at a time. Then the members of cooperative started disbursing credit among the villagers. They did not pay the credit money. As an alternative to cash money they gave things to the credit receivers for doing business. But limited fund could not meet the demands. Then again five members saved Tk 20,000/- per head and sold out the shares among the 15 members of the cooperative. In this cooperative some members were taken from outside the CBO. Now the total fund is near about eight lacs and the credit business is progressing successfully. Cooperative recruited two women staffs for collecting the money and aware the people about sanitation. In CBO meeting everybody showed their interest on latrine. Then the members of Kalpana took decision to provide credit for latrine. They are not giving cash money but building the latrine. They are giving ring part, ring slab, cost of transportation (van), pipe, fence etc. They are providing a latrine for Tk 1100/- whereas the actual cost is Tk 945/-. Cooperative only takes Tk 155/- as profit and is not charging any labour cost. People will repay the money by 46 instalments within 10 months. Mainly they are providing this kind of subsidy to the hardcore poor. This initiative created a huge impact in the village. Villagers whose who have not latrines are now showing their interest to build a latrine. Belal’s dream is to provide sanitary latrine in every house of the union.
Now members of Kalpana are trying to get the registration. When they were selecting a suitable name for their organization, one of the members proposed the name KALPANA meaning dream. Everybody was agreed because this is their dream organization to do good for the people. Belal also mentioned that CBO is the source of their encouragement.
‘We devote ourselves for serving people so that people can be able to face the challenges of life and also we are acquiring knowledge to build a new Bangladesh free from deprivation, injustice, corruption and poverty’ – Belal expressed his vision not only for his village and union but also for his country.