Kallani and Jumar: Turning Milk Into Money for Their Family

Kallani and Jumar: Turning Milk Into Money for Their Family

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Work is hard to find in Koibortopara, the remote village in northern Bangladesh where Kallani and her family struggled for years to survive.

“We had no way out,” she says. “No food, no clothing, as we had no consistent income.”

Frustrated at being unable to provide for his family, Kallani’s husband was angry and sometimes violent. Though she was weary, Kallani kept looking for a path out of her family’s misery.

Two years ago, Kallani heard about CARE’s Strengthening the Dairy Value Chain program and was intrigued. Reluctantly her husband gave her permission to attend the program’s dairy production training sessions. The family owned a cow, but it didn’t make enough milk to sell. It didn’t even make enough milk for the family’s consumption.

In class, Kallani learned how best to feed a cow to stimulate milk production. Because the best feed was not available in her village, CARE coached her on where to find it and how to negotiate better prices with merchants.

Kallani’s cow was soon producing milk well beyond what the family could consume. And with CARE’s help Kallani went into the feed business. She now goes door-to-door teaching nearby cow owners the same methods that helped her.

Initially the neighbors were skeptical about a woman going door to door to teach better farming techniques. Attitudes changed as word spread that the techniques she taught dramatically improved milk production.

By empowering Kallani to improve her own farming output, CARE helped spark a chain reaction of improved dairy productivity among Kallani’s neighbors.

As their livelihoods improved, Kallani’s relationship with her husband also changed for the better. Her success helped him to see her as an equal. Now they work together selling milk and dairy items in the village market. No longer just struggling to survive, Kallani is quick to say her life has greatly improved.

"Arguing with my husband was a daily issue," she said. "Now our family life is very peaceful."

The most important detail of Kallani’s success: She and more than 35,000 other dairy producers in northern Bangladesh who participate in this program are on their way to doubling their incomes from dairy. Some already have.


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