A struggle of Tiger Widow in Sundarban

Shukjan Begum (45) is a tiger widow woman of Parshamary village of Gabura union under Shyamnagar Upazila of Satkhira District. She married with Fotik Gaji in same village. They have three daughter and 2 sons. The Gabura union is mostly saline affected area due to sea level rise and riverbank erosion. It is not possible to do agriculture. Then Fotik Gaji changed his profession from farmers to forest resource user in Sundarbans.

Fotik Gaji goes to forest for collection honey with others forest resource user in 17 April 2008. But unfortunately, Fotik Gaji killed by tiger attacked in Sundarbans and Shukjan get new social identity “tiger widow” which is treated as misfortune and ill-fated in the local community. For social and mental harassment, Shukjan was bound to return back in her parents’ house with three kids.

LEDARS started to work with tiger widows since 2007 with support of Action Aid Bangladesh and Bread for the World, to empowerment of social and economic conditions. Sukjan Begum involved as member of our Self-Help Groups. She got training from LEDARS and took money from the Self-Help Groups to establish a crab fattening firm. She took lease a land and started crab fattening. Due to cyclone AILA , Shukjan Begum lost her all investment and become very vulnerable situation again. In 2013, she took money from the Self Help Group again and starts her business. Now her farm is big in area and her income has increased. Now she is the role model and inspiration for others tiger widow and women headed family in this area. Shukjan has dream to big her farm and save enough money for future of children. Shukjan is very grateful to LEDARS and Bread for the World for the support.