Tulin Hossain’s dream is to create the world’s most environmentally friendly tannery in his home village where poverty is extensive. One step on his way are machines from Bölebyn in Sweden.
Rami is swinging her head back and forth making noises. Nazma says a few comforting words and scratches her under her chin.
Rami, who is a cow, looks up with her big eyes and calms down. “Rami” means “queen. Nazma finds the name natural. The cow gives her hope for the future.
Bagatiparais Tulin Hossain’s home village. For a long time he has been living in the capital Dhaka where he runs a small leather factory employing 30 people. In the last years he more and more often found reasons for going home to Bagatipara. Because Tulin has a dream. He wants to have full control of the whole production line for the leather that is used in his factory.
A first step is to give calves to poor women who take care of them until it is time for slaughter. Tulin then takes the hide and the women are being payed money for the meat which can amount to around the equivalent of several years’ wages.
“The money from the meat will go to my daughter’s education, says Nazma who is one of the women receiving a cow.”
The next step for Tulin is to bild a tannery in the village where there won’t be a lot of chemical used.”He wants to start the first entirely vegetable tannery in Bangladesh. The machinery needed is already in place. Several of them are coming from the Bölebyn tannery outside the Swedish town Piteå.
So far, the hides are being vegetally tanned in Savar outside Dhaka where the rest of the tanning is made with Chrome. Tulin has a deal with the owner that his hides shall be free from chemicals.
The whole thing started already in the 1970s when Swedish voluntary workers came to Bagatipara. Tulins father, who was a teacher, then met the owner of Bölebyns Tannery who was one of the helpers. That grew into a life-long friendship that was passed from fathers to sons. Now, Tulin is working together with Anders Sandlund, heir to the tannery in Bölebyn. Together they are producing leather items in Tulin’s factory that are sold in Sweden.
When we start the tannery, more jobs will be created in the village”, Tulin says.
There have been no difficulties in finding women who want to receive calves. Poverty is wide-spread. And they know that if they take good care of the cow, she will generate more money after the slaughter. The upside for Tulin is the opportunity to give something back to his homeland and in return get high-quality hides – and to have full control of the delivery chain.
“People don’t think that is possible in Bangladesh, but we shall show them that it is.