MATI Cooperative is a Non Government organization (NGO), established in 1997 and registered under Department of social services in 1998 and under NGO affairs Bureau in 2000. The organization is aiming to develop the marginalized poor farmer and enhance to gear up the people who are called extreme poor through involving them in innovative Agricultural and livelihood development activities.
Lenen Rahaman, the founder of MATI Cooperative believes that “Arrogance and Comforts of the middle class in the world, cause the exploitative destruction of Nature today, followed by the unequal accumulation of wealth by the rich countries over the past hundreds of years.” MATI Cooperative Bangladesh was founded by him through the personal conviction that the extreme poverty in rural Bangladesh is a severe form of injustice (as it is anywhere else in the world), which cannot be tolerated in any society that claims to be civilized.
Therefore, since inception, MATI Cooperative strongly believes in universal right to a life in dignity for all human beings. Through all of our actions we do our best to reflect the principles of equality, fairness, democracy, good governance and human rights. Conflicts have to be solved solely through peaceful means. We see an intact eco-system as prerequisite for successful, sustainable development and the well-being of all people.
With a small group of friends, who shared their basic humanist ideas, started the first project of MATI Cooperative in the small village Huzurikanda, Sherpur District. From the beginning, poverty reduction through people’s empowerment, especially of women, and self-defined, participatory development methods were at the core of MATI Cooperative’s activities. Since those early days, MATI Cooperative’s activities have continuously expanded, and its mission, vision and goals have been fine-tuned over the years.
Huzurikanda is a remote, but densely populated village like thousand others in Bangladesh, under Nakla sub-district of Sherpur district. Here MATI Cooperative has its roots, as this is where Lenen Rahaman started to work with two women as health motivators in his semester break in 1997. He lived three months with a local family, to learn about the problems of the rural poor
One year later, MATI Cooperative became a registered organisation with the Department of Social Services, Sherpur and the first very modest office was built with the help of German Foundation “Stiftung Umverteilen, Berlin”. In 1999 the first class at the MATI Cooperative School welcomed the first students
By 2012 MATI Cooperative works in 40 villages in the region around Huzurikanda, Nakla Thana. In Huzurikanda MATI Cooperative has established the MATI Cooperative Primary School for nearly 300 students, and a field station working together with approximately 5000 poor families.
Since very beginning over the years the MATI Cooperative eco-village has been established there as a resource centre for organic agriculture promotion and environment protection. There is a conservation of 682 trees of around 40 species of medicinal, fruits and timber trees in the eco-village. Moreover, the demonstrations of different organic farming technologies are set throughout the year for the learning of farmers, staff and interns.
During the year of 2018-19 an Eye-care centre has been established in the premise for providing eye-care services of the people of surrounding area. The construction of new school building is going on and to be finished by 2020.
In 1999, the parental home of MATI Cooperative founder Lenen Rahaman at Sankipara of Mymensingh city has been turned into the organizational headquarter and is home to the lively community of MATI Cooperative staff and volunteers. In early 2000, MATI Cooperative got registered under NGO Affairs Bureau of Bangladesh to receive foreign donations for its projects. Since then, MATI Cooperative has started working with the adjacent Dalit families surrounding to MATI Cooperative head office and gradually extended the activities in the slums of Mymensingh city in order to address the specific problems of the poor in urban areas. Around 3000 women are active in MATI Cooperative Women Groups in the locality.
In 2006 MATI Cooperative extended it’s activities in 5 villages under Gagra union of Mymensingh sadar upazila. In the village of Borobilerpar, nearby Dhaka-Mymensingh highway, MATI Cooperative established it’s second field office in 2007. The village is situated in the sub-urban area of Mymensingh city, about 10 km away from MATI Cooperative’s head office. Day by day MATI Cooperative extended it’s activities in 10 surrounding villages in the area. MATI Cooperative built it’s own office building there in 2007, with an attached training centre. In 2011 a new building was also built there for carpentry workshop where there is a plan to establish a Vocational Training Institute for skill development of the poor people. A eco-friendly guesthouse is also established there during the period of 2014 to 2017