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Zia Mollah (23) tells his story

At the age of 18, Zia (from Bangladesh) was already in charge of his father’s sanitation shop. Without experience and with unfinished studies he did not feel up to this task. But now, five years later, the shop is running well. Zia is happy to share what has changed.

‘On my 18th I unfortunately had to abandon my studies. My family is poor and I had to go to work to make money for our livelihood. My father had a sanitation shop, but as he was getting older and often not feeling well, I took over the shop. Initially, it was very hard. So I was very happy when – through an NGO – I could follow a training and receive a loan. Even so, we kept struggling for another four years to make enough money.

In August 2018, I got in touch with someone from CSS who was drawing up a list of entrepreneurs who were active in the WASH sector. After a conversation I was allowed to participate in the project as an entrepreneur. This implied following a training in entrepreneurship, social marketing, bookkeeping and quality assurance. In addition, I learned to seek connections with the communities and to adjust my products to their needs. I extended my product range with several types of rings, floor panels and floor boxes.

My shop is now attracting more clients. Within one year, my monthly income increased  from 1,000 BDT (10 euros) to BDT 11,960 BDT (125 euros). Furthermore, I have been able to expand my business and hire a technician. I also work together with two HSA’s who promote my products during their education sessions. They receive 20% of the profit for everything they sell. The market for sanitation in our community has really flourished! I am not the only one who benefits. The entire community profits from improved facilities and better hygiene. And since recently, I also became secretary of a new business platform. The cooperation and exchange within this platform is very valuable and together we engage in discussion with the government.

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