Mobile Phone Brings Silent Revolution In Poor Countries
If corrupt politicians, lack of government programs, inadequacy of vocational trainings have been the bane of the financially disadvantaged people in the third word countries, they are now finding help in a relatively modern innovation—mobile phone, which is literally giving them the opportunity to pull themselves up by their shoe strings.
Mobile phone is a way of life in the western world and in majority cases it is merely a means of convenience in communication, however, in the third world it has become the life blood of decent size businesses, and a Bangladeshi village woman, Monowara Talukder, a native of Gaibandha district in the northern part of the country, one of the poorest area of Bangladesh, is a testimony to that.
In only six years, Talukder has built an international herbal tea business, Tulsi Tea, with a turnover of $625,000 in revenue. In a country where the per capita income is only $599 (2008 statistics) Talukder's endeavor can be termed as a business empire.
She employs 1,500 female workers, and supplies her products to major western health food chains, and far eastern countries. She does not have an office or showroom, her mobile phone is her office, show room, phone, fax—in a nutshell the hubbub of her international activity.
When the mobile phone first arrived in the rural Bangladesh in 1997, Talukder was among the first women to sign up for one. The cost was high in Bangladeshi standard and for a 48-year old mother of four, who had never ventured in such a project, the risk was very high, albeit, she never regretted her decision.
All women, nevertheless, are not as lucky as Talukder. According to the telecoms industry body GSMA, a woman living in South Asia has only 37 per cent chance of getting a mobile phone compared to a man, giving rise to telecoms gender gap. Talukder, who made difference to many lives, proudly stated that because of her growing business, 1,200 of her employees own mobile phones, a great feat for a poor country such as Bangladesh.
National Geographic Emerging Explorer Ken Banks posted some stories about how mobile phones are being used throughout the world to improve billions of lives at the grass roots level. There are over 500 million subscribers in Africa alone, and increasing number of people around the world are owning mobile phones with each day passing.Continued on the next page