As part of the #UCTurns5 drive, I had the pleasure of meeting Rabiul who has devoted his entire life to the well-being of his family. Here’s how Rabiul became a cleaner at Urban Company after a tumultuous journey as a carpet weaver and a daily-wage laborer.
Rabiul was born in 1983 to a humble peasant family residing in Bilaspur village, Kolkata. He was the first of eight children born over the next 10 years. He faced a lot of hardships during his growing up years due to floods, no farming income and limited resources. His father was forced to sell half of the six acres farm land at throwaway prices to make ends meet. At that time, Rabiul had just cleared his 8th standard and was only 14 years old but his desire to help his family was anything but small. He ran away from his home in search of a job to support his family and save the remaining land from being sold.
In the city, Rabiul found a job at a carpet factory as a weaver. He earned Rs 4,000 per month, of which he sent Rs 2,000 back home to save farm land. Despite having worked in the carpet factory for years, he was still getting paid Rs 5,000 per month (that too in 2011!).
To me, this was unimaginable – sustaining a family of four at a monthly earning of Rs 5,000.
He eventually quit carpet weaving, and learnt masonry. In his new stint as daily wage laborer, he was earning Rs 10,000 – Rs 12,000 per month. While this was better than his earlier income, but it still wasn’t enough. So, to support their family, his wife also started working as a maid.
This struggle to make ends meet continued for the next eight years and ended only last year when Rabiul met his younger brother.
Things Start To Look Up
In 2018, Rabiul met his younger brother Kamru Jawan, who had shifted to Gurgaon and had started working with Urban Company. Kamru said to his brother
“Mistri ka kaam karta hai, itni mehnat, itni height pe, dhool-mitti me. Tu mere saath Urban Company aaja, badhiya paisa hai, kaam achcha hai, ijjat hai aur kam se kam Rs 30,000 har mahine kama lega”.
Rabiul accompanied Kamru to a cleaning job (of course after taking permission from the customer) and was awestruck. He immediately joined Urban Company and started witnessing almost 5x growth in his monthly earnings. He fondly describes one of his visits to his village. He went in the middle of the month and didn’t have to worry about money as he had already earned Rs 24,000 by then. This feeling marked a turning point. He no longer had to worry about taking a leave, he could as he mentioned work for just fours in a day and still earn Rs 5,000. This feeling was liberating, and I could sense it in his voice as he was speaking about it.
With the earnings made on the platform, Rabiul purchased a bike and enrolled his son Misbah (now 11 years old) in a private school. That’s not all, he is sharing the dream by making one of his younger brothers Rahman also join Urban Company. He wishes to continue to spread the word about making dreams happen.
Rabiul regrets not completing his education but hopes to correct that by investing in his children’s education. The passion was evident in his eyes as he said,
“Urban Company ke saath hi jude rehna hai aur apne bachcho ko padha kar kuch banana hai”.
PS: He recently sold his TV, so that Misbah can focus on his studies 🙂