A mentor of women entrepreneurs: business leaders
The country's business leaders today expressed condolences on the demise of prominent entrepreneur Rokia Afzal Rahman.
Rokia, the chairperson of Mediaworld Ltd, the owning company of The Daily Star, breathed her last at the Mt. Elizabeth Novena Hospital in Singapore this morning at the age of 82.
"Humility is her other name. I write "is" just because Rokia Apa will continue to live amongst all of us beyond today, just because of her compassion," said Rubana Huq, vice-chancellor of the Asian University for Women.
"She is a friend, a mentor and will always continue to be one," said Huq, who is also the former president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association.
"Her contribution to the SME landscape of Bangladesh is outstanding. Her encouragement to young female entrepreneurs is exemplary. A woman of courage, vision and optimism, Rokia Apa, you will always be in our hearts," Huq said.
"We are really very sad for her demise. She was a pioneer in women entrepreneurship in Bangladesh and she showed us ways," said Monowara Hakim Ali, president of Chittagong Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
"Rahman loved women entrepreneurs very much and always suggested us to work for people. She will remain with us as a symbol of woman entrepreneurship."
She believed that the nation will advance further with the advancement of women, said Monowara.
Monowara, sharing her personal experience with Rokia, said, "She always advised me to maintain a low profile. She suggested us to be confident and to continue. We learnt a lot from her."
The Business Initiative Leading Development (BUILD), a private think-tank, also expressed deep shock at the passing of its former trustee board member, Rokia Afzal Rahman.
She was one of the key driving forces of women's entrepreneurial development in particular and economic development of Bangladesh in general.
The renowned woman entrepreneur also served a former caretaker government as an adviser.
"Her dedication and commitment to the development of the private sector was truly inspirational and unique. May her institutional legacy last forever," it said in a press release.
"She cared for us like a mother or elder sister does," said Fazlul Hoque, former president of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA).
"I became very emotional after hearing the news of her death. It shocked me as she had motherly affection for me," Hoque also said.
"She cared for me like a family member and always wanted to know about my family members," said Hoque, also a board member of the International Chamber of Commerce – Bangladesh (ICC-B).
"We used to share a lot of thoughts during our ICC-B board meetings as she was a vice-president until her death. Every year we travel to different countries like Australia, Spain from the ICC-B. During our tours, we had a lot of good memories," Hoque said.
"She along with three female diplomats visited my factory at Narayanganj a few years ago."