Poverty compelled Rahima Khatun to pass her granddaughter on to a Dutch NGO in 1979 when Sultana was just four. A Dutch couple took her to the Netherlands and brought her up.
Sultana Ven Der Lest, as she is now called, is now in Bangladesh in search of her roots.
According to the document of the handover, she is from Dohazari union in Chandanaish upazila in Chittagong. Back then, the union was under Patiya upazila. It says Sultana's parents died and that it was impossible for her grandmother to bring her up owing to poverty.
The paper does not mention the names of her parents and the village, said Ismail Sharif, a development worker and former official of SLOPB Bangladesh, the organisation that is helping Sultana in her search.
A schoolteacher, Sultana was married to Jorif Jacob who is a designer. The couple came to Bangladesh on February 1 with their 10-year-old son, Noah Abed Nabila Jacob. They plan to fly back to the Netherlands on February 12.
Yesterday, they met the Upazila Nirbahi Officer and local police officials seeking help.
They also held a press conference at the Chittagong Press Club.
Talking to The Daily Star, Sultana said she felt for Bangladesh and her roots. “I have a deep feeling for my roots and so I have been very keen to come to Bangladesh to find out my roots.”
Although she has yet to know the details about her village and her parents, she hopes that she will find it out one day.
“If I fail to explore it this time, I will come back again and I will make it happen,” she told this newspaper by phone.