Projects - Eco-Village in Natore

Home  /   Eco-Village in Natore
Location of Natore District in Northwest Bangladesh (marked in Red)

Location of Natore District in Northwest Bangladesh (marked in Red)

The project area is within the small villages of Baro & Choto Hatiandha of Shingra Thana, Nator District. The total population of the area is 5,723 out of which there are 3,064 women. The rate of adult women’s literacy in the area was extremely low (only approximately 12%) when we started. Most of the inhabitants of this area are agricultural laborers.  Samhati started the Natore Project in 2008 and it continues to have an important impact on the community.


The program’s core component is an eight-month adult literacy program.  We have adult literacy classes in three different villages, and over 1500 adults (mostly women) have learned to read as of 2021.  The literacy classed teach reading, writing, and basic arithmetic. 

Literacy classes are followed by training on income generating activities, including sapling production, vegetable cultivation, candle making, sewing, and computer skills. Samhati has opened a small shop to sell these products. The participants are also learning about natural resources management, including generation of organic bio fertilizer, seed preservation and marketing, renewable energy, and waste management and recycling. Samhati has provided 1,500 sapling trees, which project members planted in the community.

At our Computer Learning Center, we have several desktop and laptop computers, and the three-month training is very popular and leads to employment for many of the graduates.  We have approximately 75 women per year enrolled in our sewing classes.  Several graduates have been provided sewing machines (on monthly payment plan) to start their own tailoring businesses. A cooperative has been formed by local women, who are learning fish farming, vegetable gardening, and production of organic fertilizer.

In 2016, we started an exciting new program, granting bicycles to girls to help them get to school. Girls rarely bike in Bangladesh, so this bold initiative allows girls to be less confined and more mobile. The bicycle program is a very effective tool to empower girls and discourage early marriage.  


Our project features a Resource Center for the community, which includes a library and computer and internet services. The Resource Center shows educational films twice a week. The project participants are publishing a quarterly magazine with news, information, and creative writing from community members. To emphasize literacy, reading groups have been started and a mobile library makes home delivery of books and newspapers.


In Natore, we are also providing scholarships to 30 students (majority girls), who are chosen by a committee based on merit and need. We are providing approximately $75 per student annually to fund these scholarships. Just this small amount ensures that these young people receive clothing, books, shoes, and other supplies so that they can stay enrolled in school.  One girl from Natore is also chosen to participate in our  Jahanara Ali Memorial Scholarship program.


In 2018, Samhati gave bikes to 12 girls in Natore to increase girls’ mobility, safety, and empowerment.  It was very exciting for these girls to learn to bike.  Before this, only men and boys were seen riding bikes.  More bicycles will be given to girls as funding allows.

The Natore Project has been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic because schools and many of our classes were stopped for several months in 2020 and 2021.   The community suffered great economic loss as well. However, Samhati kept paying all local staff. We also starting a project of sewing masks and teaching people about social-distancing and masking.  We also provided emergency covid-19 funding to families.  As of October 2021, all schools and classes have now reopened with safety requirements in place.  


Caneflex Limited