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Mowmita Basak Mow

MA International Development Management 

  • Has founded a social enterprise called Ithiki
  • Ithiki aims to provide artisans from Bangladesh, India and Myanmar with employment opportunities 
  • Was given the opportunity to study at Bradford through the Global Development Scholarship
Mowmita Basak Mow, MA International Development Management

Setting up on my own

"With two friends from my time at Oxford, I have started up a social enterprise called ‘Ithiki’. Based in the UK, Ithiki provides artisans from minority communities in Bangladesh, India and Myanmar with employment opportunities.

"Our ethical brand aims to promote the beautiful crafts of these local artisans on a global stage. We are registered as a community interest company in the UK.

"We plan to create and establish an ethical brand in markets such as the UK and EU, where the propensity to spend on ethically sourced goods is higher. We aim to establish the brand on the principles of conscious consumerism and scale it up as a one stop shop for customers to shop for green, vegan and affordable homeware items.

"The brand's creation is an attempt to spread awareness and generate demand for ethically sourced products from underprivileged communities. The demand will enable more and more refugees to enter the value chain and allow artisans to scale up the volume of production and increase income."

I previously ran a social enterprise in Bangladesh and I have always wanted to start up another enterprise that will work globally. Though this work has a lot of challenges and uncertainty around it, it gives me so much joy to see how an idea can become so big. I dream of making a big difference in my community and only large-scale interventions can bring such rapid progress.

My role

"I am currently in charge of community engagement, fundraising and artisan development for my enterprise. So far, I have been able to gather hundreds of artisans from different backgrounds.

"The downsides of the field are that the landscape of the business changes rapidly and it requires a great deal of perseverance to go through a lot of trial and error to find success.

"The best aspect has to be the joy I find in seeing the change my initiative brings into people’s lives and livelihood.

"Our business has been impacted heavily by the Covid-19 crisis. We were supposed to launch on Amazon this April, but this got delayed. We cannot export our products immediately at this time and we are unsure when we will be able to resume our work in the UK and local community."

Pursuing postgraduate

"The University of Bradford is quite well known for Peace and Development Studies and I needed a full scholarship to pursue a Master's, so I applied.

"After my undergraduate studies, I worked in the development sector for a while and ran a social enterprise in Bangladesh. I felt higher education in International Development Management would equip me with cutting-edge theoretical knowledge that I could apply in my professional field successfully.

"I have always wanted to pursue a Master's abroad but I could only take such an opportunity if I could secure a scholarship.

"I am thinking of studying a DPhil in the future, as I found an interesting topic to research but I am not sure if I will apply this year. In the next few years, I have a plan of applying for a DPhil."

Mowmita Basak Mow, MA International Development Management

Studying at Bradford was a very academically enriching experience. Having classmates from many different countries with extensive practical experiences made my learning even more fulfilling and my thesis advisor and other professors were always eager to lend their help when needed.

Experience at Bradford 

"I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to study at Bradford and it worked as the founding basis of my career afterwards. Right after my time at Bradford, I worked for the Asian University for Women as the launch leader of two novel higher education programmes for female Rohingya refugees and garment factory workers, that grabbed attention worldwide. I feel so happy to have been a catalyst in the advancement of change for these disadvantaged minority women.

"Since then, I have successfully completed another Master’s in public policy at the University of Oxford with the prestigious Weidenfeld and Hoffman scholarship. I had the opportunity to work for the Cabinet Office in the UK for a while where I gained first-hand experience of learning how policies are crafted at a higher level.

"All of this was possible because the University of Bradford graciously supported a student who cherished the opportunity to study at postgraduate level, but did not have means to do so."

Scholarship support

"I received the Global Development Scholarship to support my study at Bradford.

"I was actively looking for a Master's course in the UK and I found out about this scholarship on the educational opportunities website. I checked the eligibility criteria and felt it was a good fit for me.

"The application process was easier than many other scholarship applications I filled out at that time. There were two essay questions with a flexible word limit, so I could express myself properly to show my suitability for the scheme.

"My first advice to students looking for a scholarship would be to see how it will contribute to your broader career goal. It’s important to be strategic about this. You should make a list of programmes or scholarship schemes that you are interested in and then make a convincing case stating your academic and professional achievements related to the academic programme.

"This scholarship also helped me to secure a scholarship for my second Master's at Oxford. I was successful in convincing them that if financial support is available while pursuing my Master's, I can excel both academically and professionally."