Sirajul Islam is a rice grower who lives with his wife Sokhnia and their son Shohanur in Dharmopur village. Previously, Sirajul struggled to cultivate gainful crops using traditional approaches to farming.
In 2016, Sirajul discovered zinc rice. He attended an ENRICH yard meeting on zinc rice where he learned about it’s health benefits, it’s crop yield success, and it’s resilience to disease. Consequently, he became committed to finding zinc rice seeds.
Through ENRICH programming, Sirajul received 3KG of seeds and fertilizer. He also received formal training on zinc rice cultivation.
A Burgeoning Rice Farmer
After yielding a plentiful crop, he and his family started eating zinc rice regularly. He noticed that the health of his family members was improving following this new diet. Sirajul wanted to share the nutritious value of zinc rice. Generously, he began to give rice from his crops to pregnant women in the community. These provisions would help expectant moms to birth and raise healthy babies.
Sirajul became an advocate for zinc rice in his community. “I will work as an ambassador for zinc rice”, he said. As Zinc rice seeds were not available in the market, he started selling his leftover seeds. This way, his neighbours would also have the tools needed to diversify their crops.
An Emerging Community Leader
Sirajul and Sokhina are involved in other ENRICH interventions asides from zinc rice cultivation. Sokhina is an active member of the Women Self-Help group and has attended ENRICH-lead sessions on Nutrition and WASH. Equally important, Sirajul is the nominated community leader of his village. After receiving training, he formed a Men Care group in his community where he advocates on gender issues. He encourages the group to provide opportunities for their wives to be involved in income generating activities. Ultimately, his hope is that women will have increased decision making power in their family and community.
A Conscientious Father
Today, Sirajul and his wife are expecting another child. Sirajul has been looking after the health of his wife and his unborn baby, “I have taken my wife to the Maternity Center for antenatal care twice already. I make sure that my wife is eating enough nutritious food and getting enough rest,” He added, “I kept the money that I’ve earned from selling the zinc rice seeds for emergency during the delivery of our second baby”.
Sirajul expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the ENRICH project, “I’m very grateful to ENRICH for their support of my family. I learnt so many things which I now use in my everyday life. I dream to be an ideal zinc rice farmer in my community and want to see everybody cultivating zinc rice and thus developing a healthy community”.