Name: Rahima Khatun
Where: Margaon, Khansama Upazila, Dinajpur, NW Bangladesh
What she does: Works tirelessly for women and children’s rights
Impact: Has enabled families to feed their children nutritious food, go to clinic for safe delivery and other sickness, mass awareness on education , women and child rights
Nominated by: Mobarok Hossain, Program Unit Manager, Dinajpur Program Unit
Rahima Khatun lives in one of the most underdeveloped communities consisting of 5,000 people in Bhabki Union of Northern West of Bangladesh. She works for the holistic development of her community since 1997. She started working as non-paid Village Health Volunteer in 1997 to orient women about nutrition, motivate mothers and their family to ensure nutritious food for children, using iodized salt and prepare homestead garden. She collected rice and pulses from the community to prepare hodgepodge (mixed food) and provided the under five children to make it a habit of the family.
In 1999, she joined as a member of Community Based Organization (CBO) of Margaon village and started working closely with the community people to ensure 100% institutional delivery to reduce maternal and child mortality. She attended parents meeting in different schools of her community, tried to motivate parents to send their children in school and paid home visit of the students who were dropped out. It resulted in increased enrolment of students and reduced drop out and child labor in her own community. On the other hand by motivating the local Government institutions she contributed to stop child marriage in her community.
In 2005 she was elected as Chair person of the Community Based Organization. Since then she started visiting house to house for motivating people to install and use latrine. In addition, she works with Clinic Management Committee to generate poor fund with a view to support extreme poor family for ensuring their good treatment. She also motivated families to go to clinic for delivery and any type of sickness. Rahima Khatun is tireless in her efforts to bring assistance from within the local community in Margaon. The impact of Rahima’s work has been far reaching and has massively improved the lives of the children as well as the overall development of the community.