Nothing will bring back the child who is now in the great beyond, but what could be a better way the mother could remember her beloved daughter than making her dream her own and fulfill it!
That is what the mother and the family of Abinta Kabir, who was killed along with 19 other hostages in last year's Gulshan café attack, strove to do as they launched Abinta Kabir Foundation yesterday to help under-privileged children get education.
At a memorial programme at a city hotel where the foundation was launched, Ruba Ahmed poured out her emotions and feelings for her only child Abinta. The Bangladesh-born US citizen was on summer holidays in Dhaka last July when the tragic incident befell her.
As Ruba spoke, everyone of the audience felt the sense of sadness from losing Abinta.
“My little angel is in heaven,” she said and then took a pause, as it felt, to stop herself from breaking down.
“You [Abinta] are my light, my moon. I count the days to meet you.
“You are so wonderful to think of, but so hard to be without,” said Ruba, recalling her 19 years of motherhood with Abinta who was so full of love and life throughout her short life.
She was very happy in 2007 when she returned home from the US after completing her fourth grade, said her mother.
She went back to study at Emory University in Atlanta after graduating from American International School Dhaka.
Ruba said she had tried to instill in her daughter the values of humanity, patriotism and discipline and how she had taken all those in with a higher aptitude.
The young talented woman dreamt of a Bangladesh free of poverty.
In one of her academic write-ups in 2015, Abinta said, “I believe that I do have responsibility for the greater community as a whole because I am part of a community where more than half of the people are suffering from poverty and hunger.”
On the fateful night of July 1 last year, she went to Holey Artisan Bakery along with friends -- Faraaz Ayaaz Hossain of Emory and Indian national Tarishi Jain, a student of the University of California, Berkeley -- and met the tragic death.
Her family now wants her dreams to be fulfilled.
Apart from founding the charity, it launched a book titled “An intimate portrait of Abinta Kabir” and a website- www.abintafoundation.org to give readers and visitors a deep insight into the world of Abinta.
Her grandmother Nilu Murshed, family friends and relatives Mokammel Haque, Kazi Aminul Islam and Nazma Chowdhury, Abinta's school friend Gabriella Nordlund, aunt Lubna Ahmed and cousin Jason Christopher also spoke.
US Ambassador to Bangladesh Marcia Stephens Bloom Bernicat said, “Abinta could have gone on to do anything with her life that she chose to do. She had a drive to make the world and Bangladesh in particular a better place.”
However, even in her absence, Abinta is making the world a better place, she said, adding, “Please let us join together to make the world a better place Abinta dreamed it can be.”
Abinta's grandfather Manzur Murshed said, “She will be in our heart. We have a beacon to follow.”
In his memory of Abinta, her maternal uncle Tanveer Ahmed said, “We used to call each other Billu. One night I returned home and saw her reading, as usual, until late night.”
“I asked her 'Billu, are you going to be a scientist in the United States?' In response, she said, 'No Billu, I want to come back home and do something for the country.'”