Stories of Change
Oasis Coffins employs around 150 people from rural Bangladesh. Here is a typical story of how one life has been impacted through stable employment.
Salma (name changed) and her family live in a small village. Her husband is an agricultural day labourer without regular or reliable income. Her only daughter died about 15 years ago due to a fever which she could not afford to treat. Her eldest son is now 18 years of age, married and does not support his mother. Her second son is 12 years old; both his hands and his feet are weak, and he is not able to walk properly. Her third son is 9 years of age, and he has a disability with speech. He fourth son is just three years of age. Salma herself was a leprosy patient who was successfully treated at the nearby Leprosy Mission Hospital.
Before she joined Oasis she worked as house maid for more than two years, and her wages were low. Her husband couldn’t support the family either due to the irregular income as a labourer paid on a daily basis. They did not have proper home either, and lived in a very basic bamboo hut with a thin plastic polythene roof. Their hut was often blown away by storms during the monsoon season.
She joined Oasis Coffins in 2009 as a tailor, with responsibility for stitching coffin linings. She had learnt tailoring during her treatment with the Leprosy Mission. She started to save some money each month and was then able to take a small loan from a local NGO, through which she bought a small piece of land. She has now paid off the loan and has been able to build her own home! She is now planning to take a fresh loan to buy land for her husband to cultivate.
With increased stability in her family, both her 12 year old and 9 year old sons have been able to go to school. She has also learnt a range of other skills in the coffin manufacturing process.