Rohingya women who live at different Rohingya camps in Cox's Bazar showcased their hand-made dresses and other products at a Women's fair at Rohingya Camp-5 in Ukhiya upazila, arranged on the occasion of the International Women's Day.
At the daylong fair, twenty-one stalls were featuring various products made by Rohingya women and buyers were mostly Rohingya women.
Rohingya Camp-5 in-charge Mahfuzur Rahman inaugurated the fair at the Women's market there at around 9am on Monday.
After visiting different stalls at the fair, he said the participation of women members of the Rohingya community in social activities has increased many times more than before as a result of various programs initiated by voluntary organisations. With this, they are now becoming self-reliant.
With the clothing business, Rojima Begum, who has been living at Rohingya camp-4 in Ukhiya since 2017 following Army crackdown in Myanmar, has become self-reliant and fulfills the necessities of her six-member family.
Rojima was seen showcasing her products, including kantha and various dresses for Rohingya women, at the stall of the Rohingya Women and Adolescent Empowerment Association (Rwaea). The Rwaea has 97 Rohingya female members and clothes made by them were sold at the fair.
Rojima, a member of Rwaea – initiated by the Prantic Unnayan Society (Prantic), said, "I have received sewing training with the help of Prantic, a non-government development organisation. I have been making dresses and selling those for the last three years. I have a shop in the women's market and we (Rohingya women) are happy with selling clothes in the fair."
Ekram Kabir, programme officer of Prantic's Women Empowerment Project, said "With the assistance of OBAT Helpers Inc (USA), an international donor agency, we have been implementing various programmes at Rohingya camps since 2017 to develop the skills of Rohingya women."
Alongside the Prantic, 21 other development organisations who work for Rohingya women partook in the fair. Women of this community who received training with the help of the development organisations, showcased their products at the fair.
The Women's Market – established under Brac's women empowerment project, financed by WN Women – has been arranging the fair for the last three years to mark the International Women's Day.
Shefaly Begum, manager of Women's Market, said, "We organised the fair putting importance on the theme of this year's International Women's Day theme – "Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow".
Rohingya woman Taslima Khatun, a visitor of the fair, said, "The dresses are nice and we can buy the products at cheaper rates. So, I have bought two dresses for my grandchildren."
The event ended in the afternoon through a concluding ceremony at the fair venue.