Phone repair in Kathalia, Bangladesh June 15, 2008Posted by François in Uncategorized.
Tags: bangladesh, ipai, kathalia, phone repair
A few months ago, these two Bangladeshi women opened a mobile phone repair shop in the small village of Kathalia, Narsinghi district, a 2-hour drive north of Dhaka. They are among the 22 women who graduated from a training workshop on cell phone servicing and information technology in January 2008. Another woman has also set up shop in a nearby village, while the remaining 19 repair phones in their homes, advertising their services with a sign on the road.
This was the first time such training was offered. Funding came from the Dhaka Ahsania Mission (DAM), and the Kathalia Sukher Disha Community Resource Centre organized the 3-week course. Participants were selected from nearby villages (one per village). The goal was to provide poor women with skills that would allow them to make a living as technicians. Upon graduation, each received a basic toolkit, worth about Tk. 1,000 ($15), including a set of screwdrivers, small pliers, soldering iron and solder, a cleaning brush, a Chinese-made multitester (Sunwa YX-360TR), and a Bengla/English collection of mobile phones diagrams covering the handsets most commonly found in rural Bangladesh.
The pair decided to become business partners and rented a storefront in Kathalia for Tk. 3,000 ($45) for the whole year. They work in the shop 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. In addition to phone repairs, they also use their mobile to sell phone calls to villagers. Altogether since starting 5 months ago, they have earned on average Tk. 1,500 ($23) per month, most of it from repairs. They say most phones can be fixed by opening and cleaning them, but they can also test individual components, order and install a replacement when needed.
They hope to expand their business soon by offering additional services. First, they plan to provide “flexi load”, Grameen’s instant recharge for pre-paid phones. They would also like to sell mobile accessories. They looked into becoming participants in the Grameen Village Phone Program, but found the start-up cost too high and decided against it.