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     Volume 2 Issue 15 | July 21, 2007 |


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From Bogra
Phoorti Bibi of Kajla Chor : A Pioneer

Selina Sheuly

There aren't too many people in this world who spend their money without any regard for their own profit and simply for the benefit of others. This is particularly hard to believe in the case of a housewife from a rural area. But Phoorti Bibi is just such a person; she spent money on rearing cattle and growing vegetables for the benefit of others.

Phoorti Bibi is a very ordinary village housewife who lives in East Bogra's Sariakandi upazila. River erosions, storms, rain and floods are very much a part of her life as are the people in the people of the region. Her happiness is to be able to be with the people.

A representative of the people, Phoorti Bibi will have to leave the place where she has lived for the last 20 years. After the disastrous erosion of the Jamuna river much of the land was swallowed up by the furious Jamuna. At the rate at which the land is eroding, it is only a matter of time until her own land falls victim to the river's erosion.

Behind her thick glasses, it is obvious that Phoorti Bibi is an intelligent woman. Not only do the locals know about her intelligence, the administrators do too. That she has been thinking about the welfare of the people in her area has been demonstrated a month ago when she purchased a cell phone purely for the benefit of others.

The phone that she has purchased from the sales of her vegetables and chicken eggs gets loaned to people from 5 in the morning to 10 at night. Whenever she receives a call, whoever it is for, she runs off herself to give it to them. Sometimes she takes help from her neighbors. Sometimes people are called with the mosque's microphone.

There is no electricity near “Kajlar Chor”. There was never any electricity in this area and nobody knows for sure when there will be. To charge her phone Phoorti Bibi has to travel quite a bit. This costs her 50 to 60 taka, every time, out of her own pocket. She does take money from people, but no more than the exact charge for how much they talk.

There are other ways in which Phoorti Bibi likes to help others. She joins the government in trying to stop child marriages in her village. She has claimed that there are no longer any child marriages in her area. She has married off her two daughters at ages 20 and 22 respectively.

She organizes meetings where she tells participants to not marry their children before age 18. The Kajla Union Council Chairman has commended her efforts and has said they will install 25 sanitary latrines in the area.

Phoorti Bibi is always very happy whenever people are helped by her initiatives. Another one of her dreams is to establish a school. She also wants people to be more aware about the possibilities of and how to prepare for calamities. She is trying hard to do as much as she can.



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