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Bangladesh has enjoyed considerable economic growth over the past few decades, however its employment driven opportunities have been sluggish. Such proliferation of ‘jobless growth’ is a result of inadequate opportunities for the large wave of young people who are prepared to enter the workforce but cannot seem to do so.
Playing its part to improve opportunities for young people, Aarong, one of BRAC’s largest social enterprises, employs over 200 full-time staff every year while also hiring close to 3,000 part-time staff on a seasonal basis.
Shaymoli Biswas Ohona, 32 years
“I bought my mother a purse with my first salary. The smile it brought to her face was priceless. I knew then that no matter how expensive a gift she received later, nothing would compare.
It was back in 2008 when I was doing my honours and came upon a job opening at Aarong. I applied immediately and was hired as a sales associate. Many of my friends and relatives would ask discouragingly why I had become a shopkeeper. I wanted to do more besides studying. The part-time work allowed me to pay for my tuition fees, and my daily expenses. I could have asked my parents for help but I did not have the heart to. I knew they would sacrifice their own needs for mine.
With the guidance and training that I received at work, I was able to grow professionally. I was promoted to floor manager while pursuing my masters. It was during the same time that I lost my father. He was my best friend, and it was unbearable. My mother was my biggest motivator, encouraging me to keep going.
I worked hard to earn every promotion, eventually landing my current position as the store manager. I won’t say I have been successful yet. I want Aarong to have a global footprint, and I want to grow with it. I dream of becoming the COO one day. I wish my father was alive to see me today. We can get hurt and stop when things happen or people criticise us, or we can soothe our bruises and move on, It’s always our own choice.”