Thursday, 28 October, 2021

Cricketer Bithi turns saviour

A woman cricketer Arifa Jahan Bithi, who has been out of professional cricket due to injure for few years, is now widely known as ‘Oxygen Lady’ in Rangpur.

She achieved the name  ‘Oxygen Lady’ as an expression of respect for her courage in this critical time of pandemic reflecting the Bangladesh's amazing success of women empowerment.

As the country has been pondering heavily by the brazen paw of Coronavirus, a good number of people are coming out from their comfort zone with their courage and benevolence to help the distress people risking their own life. It is amazing to see along with the men that many women also joined shoulder to shoulder with their as frontline heroes who have been devoted their high nerve for common people.

“What she did to my family, it’s like a life savior. My father was fighting with the deadly virus three months back. We were looking for oxygen and didn’t able to collect it. At that moment the Oxygen lady came with lifesaving oxygen cylinder,” said son of corona survivor SM Osman Gani, 62, a resident of Dhap Katkipara in Rangpur.

That oxygen lady named Arifa Jahan is not a wonder woman rather she is a 23-year-old young lady as like other very common women in the Rangpur town but her indomitable sprite made her as like the current days mother Teresa or Florence Nightingale to the common people of district.

Arifa, who is commonly known with her nick name Bithi in the neighbourhood, built an oxygen bank with the help of some personal donors through conducting a campaign on facebook.

As she received some fund from some kind persons through facebook, currently Bithi delivers necessary oxygen cylinders to the poor and helpless Corona patients.  

It is not that Arifa belongs to a well-off family, he herself does truing hard to collect bread and butter for her family. “Yes, it’s true I have to work hard for running my own family. But I can’t resist myself to help people after seeing the misery and helplessness of the Corona patients,” Arifa said.

Arifa was basically a women cricket who used to play at the women cricket league in Dhaka. But, due to an injury she was compelled to go back to her native town Rangpur a few years back.

However, the injury didn’t able to conquer her spirit of doing something constructive. “After returning Rangpur when I realized that I would not be able to continue my sports career as a cricket player, I started giving cricket training to local girls,” she said.

With the hard work and determination, Arifa built a cricket training center for girls in Rangpur named - 'Women's Dreamer Cricket Academy'.

“I had 250 girls at my institute, but I had to shut down my training center when COVID surged in our area and the government imposed the lockdown,” she said.

Arifa said as she was struck at home with no work, one day she thought it is time to stand beside helpless poor. “At first I was in dilemma as how to do it. But many have come forward with financial help when I launched a campaign at my Facebook page for supplying oxygen,” she said.

With her campaign Arifa got numbers of volunteers besides her for the philanthropic task and so far, they have delivered oxygen cylinder to about 45 Corona patients.

‘Oxygen cylinders are always stored for emergencies. The call will be delivered to the people concerned as soon as it is received. '

Like Arifa, another lady in Dhaka named Sheikh Suhana Islam has been working to deliver oxygen cylinders to the corona patients in the capital since the outbreak of the deadly virus in the country.

"We are giving oxygen support to those patients who cannot go to the hospital," said Suhana, who is basically a software engineer residing at Panthapath in Dhaka. 

Suhana said she collects Oxygen cylinders from the wholesale market with financial support from various people and deliver those to the distress people at free of cost.

As women empowerment is one of the core commitments of the incumbent Awami League government, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina adopted the progressive ‘National Women Development Policy’ in 2011 for the first time with a set of goals to empower the country's women socially, economically and politically.

According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), Bangladesh is now the second most gender equal country in Asia, top in South Asia, while it ranks 47th among 144 countries of the world in the Global Gender Gap Index.