In an unprecedented move for women' liberation in Bangladesh, 13,500 women deserted by their husbands have taken to the fields to make a living through farming.
GV Women waking in fields form village
CU Women using hoes in field (2 shots)
CU Women with babies weeding (2 shots)
SV PAN FROM Naked child TO women working with children (3 shots)
LV Village huts with women breaking ground nearby (3 shots)
LV Children seated waiting fori food
SV & CU Women carrying food to children and distributing it (3 shots)
SV & CU Children eating (2 shots)
Initials BB/1840 DE/MR/BB/1850
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: In an unprecedented move for women' liberation in Bangladesh, 13,500 women deserted by their husbands have taken to the fields to make a living through farming.
The women have shaken off the social barriers which confined them to their homes and offered little scope to earn a living. Women in farming were previously unheard of in the country, but they're showing they can turn barren land into fertile fields.
Almost 160 acres of land have been set apart for them. But it's not rich agricultural land -- they are sandy patches were cultivation in normally impossible.
Six months ago the land resembled a desert, but the women have turned it into productive soil with numerous crops -- including sunflower, millet, sorghum and soya bean.
The women vary in age from 18 to 45. In most cases, their husbands left them because they had no means to maintain their families. Each of these women have at least three children and they now support them as well.
They work in the fields for about four hours a day and get 1.25 kilograms (3.3 pounds) of wheat in exchange. The wheat has been donated by UNICEF -- the Untied Nation Children's Fund -- and the project is officially recognised by the Bangladesh government.
The operation is carried out on a community basis and the crops will be sold on the open market and the profit returned to the women.
The community helps in the care of the 17,000 children, and gives them one free meal a day in the community kitchen.