Contributing to the household income after taking care of all the daily chores is nothing new for Bangladeshi women. With their expertise in handicrafts, they have already curved out a niche in the local market; however, that is a testament of the old days. Thanks to technological progress, women are increasingly using their intellectual prowess rather than physical labour as a means of becoming self sufficient. Dabbling in both E-commerce as well as freelancing, they are helping shape up the national economy. On 2nd November, three such freelancers were awarded the ‘Best Women Freelancers’ by BASIS, and the winners are Ajanta Rizwana, Sandhya Roy and Mumita Mishkat.
Ajanta Rizwana Mirza
Upon completing her undergraduate degree in Economics from University of Dhaka, Ajanta Rizwana joined the Jaago Foundation as a content writer and PR official. While she joined as a content writer, she soon had to contribute to management duties as well. During her tenure at Jaago, she had to waste an hour and a half daily on her work-home commutes. At such a time, birth of her two beautiful daughters meant she had a hard time coping with both office and family duties. Thus, bidding farewell to her profession, Ajanta decided to set up a venture from home.
She opened up an account in Upwork (known as Odesk back then) and got her firt job from the freelancing site the following year. While she started with transcription, she is mostly busy working with original write-ups. By now, she has written over 85 E-books ranging from 5,000 to 20,000 words on diverse topics such as health care, cooking, family and household maintenance, parenting etc. Ajanta informed that she used to sell each 100 word article for $1 initially, but the rate has now increased to $3. She added that by working 4-5 hours each day, she earns around Tk. 45,000 per month. She also informed that she was recently hired as a web copy-writer for a Las Vegas firm and would soon be hiring team members to complete the job.
Hailing from Narsingdi, Sandhya Roy started school at the CSE Department of Dhaka City College. She first got to learn of freelancing from the newspapers as well as neighbours, and began her foray into outsourcing as a data entry worker. During her second year of undergrad, Sandhya learned SEO and programming and gradually her work orders began to increase. In 2012, she was appointed as a web manager for Lowyat- an online based social networking site. After six months, she was offered a permanent position with a 200% pay hike of $10/ hour. She is now employed as the software quality assurance manager for Lowyat. Sandhya stated, “I test the functionality of various Android and iOS apps developed by the firm.” She further added that she started freelancing more from the interest of learning something new rather than for financial gain. Her husband Sumon Saha and cousin Sanjib Roy helped her in this regard. She also informed that she wants to hire and train a few workers and plans to set up her own venture soon.
Mumita was a student of Pharmaceuticals and has been working as a freelancer in her own field of study. She originally planned to study in University of Dhaka, but later got admitted in the pharmacy dept. of Noakhali University of Science and Technology. While she was looking for work, her husband Mustafa Al Imran, a pharmacist at Lab Aid and an award winning freelancer himself, advised Moumita to work in outsourcing. She opened up an account in Upwork in 2012 and since then, has worked in software information development, documentation, medical research, clinical trial database development, administrative tasks etc. While she worked for $1/ hour in the beginning, her income has increased to $17/ hour and she earns around Tk. 50,000 each month, working for 7-8 hours a day. She has worked for international firms such as the USA based Jazz aGroup, Canadian Benik Physician, Australia based Pharma Info Dot Net etc.