November 24, 2013
She started her career as divisional organizer (Rajshahi) of Girl Guides in 1969. Worked for women. Those women who were left at the Government hospitals, (there were families who left women who had gynecological problems), women prisoners etc. The office had to be open during the Liberation War in 1971 since it was an international N.G.O. It had nothing to do with Pakistani Government. Stopped rajakars (traitors) training in the field in front of the office building in 1971 (during the war) with amazing courage and smartness! How men could have physical training in front of women’s office, used this Islamic thinking! Worked there till 1973. Had break for some time because of my dad’s studying abroad and also my Mom finished her Masters in Sociology. She started again in 1980 with USAID projects for children and women. Family planning and childhood immunizations were starting projects. The work increased into six divisions with fourteen clinics. From childbirth to treatment of anybody are done there.
She started from scrap. From renting the office to buying furniture, she did everything personally. A volunteering organization was there as directors council. Registration of N.G.O. bureau, manage to get fund, answer every questions of government and donor organizations, everything was her responsibility. She didn’t even know when she would come home! Frequent office tours to all the district sites, monthly meetings to Dhaka office for couple of times even in the same month, training in foreign countries were there. In that era very few women in Bangladesh had worked like that.
She was involved in many things along with the busy career! To serve others in society has been part of her whole life. If someone was in labor pain she would accompany her to the hospital in the middle of the night. Known or unknown person wasn’t a factor! Teenage girl left home because of a fight with her step mom and dad came to Rajshahi from different place, she brought her home. Kept her as a relative for months after months. Asked her to study. After a long time asked the dad to take the daughter back home. After some time helped that girl get admission to nurses training center. She is a nurse for many years now. She stood by countless women and children. She would run to help whenever come to know that someone is in trouble. She will do something to help that person. Does anything happen without paying a price?! She paid the price by her time and energy, her family and children paid it in another way! That story wouldn’t be told here. Maybe never!
Took off extra clothes from her child and gave it to clothless child. Her child watched it and learnt lessons from school of life! During her child’s very important exam she brought relatives to stay at her home, sometimes for childbirth of a relative, sometimes for admission tests to the university, sometimes for treatment. At those times the family was living in an apartment of the university housing. It was a moderate sized one and had just only two bedrooms. Her brother-in-laws and sisters stayed as family members to study in the university where the husband was a professor. Cousins and their children stayed for quite few times, some for months, some for a year or so. Always someone stayed in the house. She had bought a small house in Dhaka. Countless family members of her side (brothers and sisters with their family) stayed in case of their emergency time or struggling times for many years. It was very normal for the family. Nothing to mention about. The irony of her life when my dad was in ICU for nine days, nobody was there for her! No not even children! What kind of life is it!
She never did anything to be famous or for any kind of award. Her name isn’t anywhere. Was it meant to be? She started a school under trees by managing some land from some wealthy persons of a local area where there wasn’t any school for children. After that managed fund from Netherland government to build a building for the school. After all was done the government acknowledged it and made it a government school. There was a young girl who had a very nice voice but came from a poor family. She financially supported to get her music lessons. Now she sings for the radio program.
Very often her daughter from another part of the world asks to find someone in need. She manages to locate, contact those persons with her very busy schedule. She learnt it from her own dad. During the India-Pakistan riots in 1964, her dad protected all Hindus from his locality by giving shelter in his house and guarded whole night by himself with just a rifle! He had many young daughters himself. He took the risk by endangering his family at the time of Hindu-Muslim riots!
Her daughter is saying for a while, how long are you going to do it, now it’s time to leave and relax. But her worry is, if she quits what would happen to all those employees? What would happen to their families? So called governing body members started looking for money as a nowadays trend! They forgot that in volunteering there is no money! She thought if a university professor joins the governing body something good might come out of it. First male person was brought to the committee. She always trusts everybody so she didn’t realize whom she brought! That person started replacing and employing his own relatives, known persons. Replaced all suppliers by his own known businesses. At last he played the last card of age! Even though there is no age limit there. She already made her mind that when the current fund ends she would quit. He convinced other greedy committee members who with she worked for so many years! They left all kinds of ethics, rationality! The funding agency (USAID) was also surprised! But they couldn’t do anything! Because the governing body decides who would stay or not.
She left with disgust after building the whole thing from scratch for thirty-two years! Did she ever think that she lives in Valerie Taylor’s (C.R.P. Bangladesh) country?
(Forgive me mother! I didn’t protest against the wrongdoings to you! I don’t have any power to do that. Also didn’t even try because this era is for all wrongdoers! I don’t want to lose you in other ways.)