5:16 pm - Monday May 23, 3504

Bank Asia’s card to support vulnerable women

With an aim to expatiate government effort to improve economic condition of vulnerable women and make them self-reliant, Bank Asia’s Agent Banking has introduced MasterCard Smart Card, having both debit and credit facilities, for the beneficiaries of “Investment Component of Vulnerable Group Development (ICVGD)” project being implemented by the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs (MoWCA) with the assistance of UN World Food Program (WFP) in eight upazilas under seven districts.

State Minister for Women and Children Affairs Ms. Meher Afroze Chumki, MP launched the card by handing over to a vulnerable women at a function of inaugurating the second phase of ICVGD project at Kaligonj Upazila Parishad Complex in Gazipur district on Tuesday (31 August, 2016). This phase was inaugurated simultaneously in Tungipara (Gopalgonj), Sadar (Bhola), bank asiaBhurungamari (Kurigram), Goainghat (Sylhet) and Sarankhola (Bagerhat) upazilas through telecasting the program in a video conferencing.

In the auspicious ceremony Secretary of MoWCA Ms. Nasima Begum, ndc, Deputy Commissioner of Gazipur Mr. S.M. Alam, President Managing Director of Bank Asia Mr. Md. Arfan Ali, Country Manager of MasterCard Mr. Syed Mohammed Kamal, UN World Food Program Representative Ms. Christa Rader, Director General (Additional Secretary) of Women Affairs Ms. Shahin Ahmed Chowdhury, Upazila Chairman of Kaligonj Mr. Moazzem Hossain Palash and Kaligonj UNO Mr. Md. Moniruzzaman were, among other, present.

Ms. Mahmuda Shameem Benu, Project Director of ICVGD and Additional Secretary, Ministry of Women and Children Affairs presented progress status of the first phase pilot of the ICVGD project implemented in Belkuchi and Chowhali upazilas of Sirajgonj district in 2015. A total of 2000 beneficiaries received vocational training in group and financial support Tk.15,000.00 each during the one-year period.

In the inaugural ceremony of second phase pilot a total of 21 beneficiaries in Kaligonj received the MasterCard Smart Card that contain VGD-supported amount Tk.15,000. Other beneficiaries will receive the card in order, the program was told.

Bank Asia has been incorporated in the project as banking partner. Agent Banking services of Bank Asia collects data and open account for beneficiaries as a part of financial inclusion of unbanked poor and marginalized women.

With successful implementation of pilot phases this project will be expanded to all over the country, informed State Minister for Women and Children Affairs Ms. Meher Afroze Chumki while addressing the function as chief guest. She hoped that the beneficiary women will utilize the opportunity membership properly and be self-reliant.

Speaking the function Mr. Arfan Ali, President & Managing Director of Bank Asia mentioned the government’s desire of digital Bangladesh is not far dream now. “Introduction of this card for vulnerable women and their inclusion in digitalized financial service creates a platform of social safety-net and avenue of coming out of poverty cycle,” said optimistic Mr. Arfan Ali.

Mr. Syed Mohammed Kamal, Country Manager of MasterCard told function that with the handover of this card, the ICVGD beneficiaries have been included with about 2.2 crore MasterCard users worldwide. He assured the function of continuation of such support to poor women in the days ahead.

Ms. Nasima Begum, ndc requested vulnerable women beneficiaries for proper use to government provided fund and training for uplift status of poor women. Every year budget of this section is being increased, she said and justified that Tk.500.00 crore more amount was allocated this fiscal in comparison to last fiscal. The allocation impacted on rise the number of beneficiaries leaped 7.5 lac to current fiscal’s 10 lac.

Ms. Cristina Rader, a representative from World Food Program, appreciated the government’s effort and hoped the money and knowledge support is helping vulnerable women come out from vicious cycle of poverty and contributing to expose their full potentials. She lauded Bank Asia’s Agent Banking service which is helping project beneficiaries’ digital transaction of funds.

Some beneficiaries from ICVGD first pilot of ICVGD project attended the function. Ms. Togor Begum, a beneficiary of the pilot and mother of two children from Senbhangabari of Belkuchi Upazila in Sirajgonj district briefed her story of changing life. “Vocational training and financial support I received under ICVGD project help me become a tailor and a cloth trader. Now my monthly income is between Tk.5,000.00 to Tk.6,000.00. It leads me live a good life and smooth running education for my children,” said self-reliant Togor Begum with an amicable gesture.