Name: Arefa Khatun
Where: Hatibandha Sub-district under Lalmonirhat district, Bangladesh
What she does: Social work
Impact: Fighting to promote child rights and reduce gender based discrimination.
Nominated by: Mahfuzar Rahman, Program Unit Manager, Plan Bangladesh, Lalmonirhat Program Unit.
Arefa began her journey as a young activist by participating in declaring her community as “open-defecation free.” After being awarded for her voluntary contribution she was encouraged to devote more of her efforts to progressing her disadvantaged community. She went on to educate mothers about breast feeding, child nutrition and hygiene practices and supported special needs learners at her local primary school. In recognition of her input as a child member of the community development forum she was appointed a staff member of a national NGO in 2008. There she counselled adolescents and their parents to resolve reproductive health related problems and coordinated with Family Welfare Centers (FWC) to ensure reproductive health services by the FWC authority. Through her reputation as an expert on facilitating community development issues, PlanBangladeshappointed her as a trainee staff member in 2009. This gave her a wider scope to serve the community through her extraordinary capacity. Arefa has engaged in several local social development committees on child protection, education and livelihood and is fearless in fighting against any social threats related to violence against children and women.