Rajeeda Begum, Aparajita, Bata Rural Sales Program, Bangladesh

Independent and earning – Rajeeda is a ‘Bestselling Aparajita’

Having joined the Bata Rural Sales Program back in 2008, Rajeeda has gone from strength-to-strength as an entrepreneur. Today she earns as much as US 80 dollars per month, an impressive salary considering the typical monthly salary in the ready-made garment industry in Bangladesh is US 32 dollars per month. “In 2010, I was awarded the prize for ‘Bestselling Aparajita,” says Rajeeda. “I’m very proud of this achievement. I have the framed photograph of Mr Bata awarding me this prize on my wall. It’s the only photo that I have in my home.”

Bata flip-flops go a long way

The Bata Rural Sales Program was developed together with the non-profit organisation CARE in 2005. It gives women from rural communities the opportunity to become entrepreneurs and earn a living selling affordable flip-flops manufactured from Bata-owned factories in Bangladesh. To make a viable business for the Aparajitas, they earn around 10-15% commission for each pair of shoes they sell. The Program also has the added benefit of giving the rural communities the opportunity to buy shoes too, meaning people can protect their feet and health, by avoiding the parasites that can be contracted when no shoes are worn.

“Thanks to the Bata Rural Sales Program I could move from the house of my brother to my own house and take care of my paralysed husband and still have time to earn an honorable income that allows us to have a dignified life” – Rajeeda Begum

 

How we make shoes affordable

Bata knows that for low-income base-of-the-pyramid customers to be able to buy shoes, they have to be affordable. To achieve this we employ cost savings strategies, such as integrating eco-design into the shoes. We also have transparent rooves at the production facilities where these shoes are made: to remove the need for artificial and costly lighting during the day.

Our Rural Sales Program is a great example of how a private company like ours can enter rural markets in conjunction with NGOs and drive socio-economic progress among local people. In this way we are reaching out to our low-income and loyal customers.

Nicole Voillat, Bata Sustainability Director
2005
The year the Bata Rural Sales Program began
120%
yearly increase in sales
3,000
Aparajitas in 2015

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