The slogan "Bidesh noy, swadesh" (overseas no, homeland yes) written on the backs of some auto-rickshaws were a common feature on the streets of Dhaka during the 1990s.
The campaign was aimed at encouraging the unemployed young to take up the profession of auto-rickshaw drivers rather go abroad and suffer in consequence.
At least 200 auto-rickshaws and 80 auto-tempos were distributed among unemployed youth, who according to the policy of "pay the loan from income" became owners of the vehicles after some time.
It was an initiative launched by a co-operative organisation named "Kingshuk Bahumukhi Samabaya Samity Limited."
It happened to be the first formal project undertaken by the organisation.
Kingshuk has gradually expanded, to reach the rural areas of the country, putting its ideas and concepts about modern co-operatives in practice.
In the last 30 years it has established a reputation for itself as a leading co-operative society in the country through becoming a role model in different sectors in co-ordination with the government.
"We believe that not only micro credit but micro project is also the key to economic development. This is why we have taken up various projects involving the participation of our honourable members. Most of the initiatives have had a successful culmination,'' said Nazmul Alam Bhuiyan Jewel, secretary of Kingshuk Bahumukhi Samabaya Samity Limited.
'We involve all classes of people in society through small savings programmes and create investment opportunities by implementing different types of viable business projects,' he added.
Kingshuk Bahumukhi Samabaya Samity was launched in 1987 in Dhaka's Mirpur area.
It was an initiative undertaken by seven college and university students, each of whom initially made a deposit of Tk350.
A few locally abundant lands and ponds were cultivated initially to develop a team spirit in the organisation and, in addition, generate funds.
The Samity was registered under the Co-operative Act of Bangladesh in 1990.
At present, the organisation boasts more than 50,000 members and a 500-strong permanent workforce across the country.
The general body of the organisation comprises 70 members along with an elected managing committee of nine members.
There are six macro projects, including Kingshuk Samabaya Bikash Kendro (SOBAK), housing programme, Kingshuk CNG, education programme, greenhouse nursery and eco-tourism.
Additionally, there are some micro projects and a few social projects currently in operation.
At present, the total wealth of the Samity is around Tk30 billion.
Last year, the organisation received the best co-operative award from the government.
Officials of the Samity said the mother project Kingshuk Samabaya Bikash Kendro (SOBAK) involves the mass people of society in its programme of popularising co-operative concepts throughout the country.
"It's a microcredit activity, with three zones maintaining 25 branches. Nearly 50,000 people are members of it," said Nusrat Faruque, project director of SOBAK.
Another successful project has been the Samity's housing programme, which caters to the needs of lower and middle-income groups by providing them with apartments and housing plots.
"It's a housing and land project of Kingshuk. Housing for every class of society is the principal motto. The project accommodates hundreds of families in the apartment projects and distributes thousands of plots and flats," according to Sharifuzzaman, project director of the housing project.
Samabaya Bazar is another significant project of Kingshuk. It is like a marketplace for the members.
"There is a Kingshuk Samabaya Bazaar at Shyamoli Ring Road, where different products produced by our members are sold," said a Samity leader.
"But we have been facing some problems in running the bazar owing to a lack of co-operation from officials of the cooperatives directorate of the government," he added.
Meanwhile, the eco-tourism project of the Samity has been going on at Saint Martin's Island.
According to Samity officials, a company administers a resort-like establishment of Kingshuk on the island through expending Tk10 lakh per season.
Kingshuk Greenhouse Nursery was established in 1996.
Initially, only Tk5000 was invested in the project. But now it has expanded all across the country.
The nursery has been the recipient of nine national prizes for its contribution to climate control.
"Kingshuk Participatory High School, Kingshuk Academy, Kingshuk IT Solutions, Kingshuk Bricks, etc., are some of the other important projects of us," said Nazmul Alam Bhuiyan Jewel, secretary of the Samity.
"We have faced many challenges over the course of our journey, but now we have a corporate formation which is in place to overcome any obstacle," he added.
According to statistics from the cooperatives directorate, there are 176,841 co-operative societies in the country at present.
Of them, 22 are working in all 64 districts of Bangladesh.