Published on 12:00 AM, July 02, 2020

A heart of gold

Abinta Kabir’s love for her country shines through

Abinta Kabir had always dreamed of helping the disadvantaged. Her heart cried for the common people -- rickshaw pullers, workers and children on the streets of Dhaka. And she carried those memories of her city when she travelled to study at Emory University in Atlanta, USA.

That sense of belonging brought her back to the country during her summer break in 2016, only to meet a tragic end in a brutal terrorist attack.

Abinta (19), and her friends Tarishi Jain and Faraaz Ayaaz Hossain were killed by fanatics on the dark night of July 1, 2016 at Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka.

Born to Ruba Ahmed and Md Ehsanul Kabir, Abinta was nurtured in an atmosphere of love and care, and brought up with a strong, unwavering sense of morals.

"My parents are the main authors of my story," Abinta once wrote.

She had grown up to be an exceptional person. Through her eyes, she sought out the best for her country and all those she loved. She was a peacemaker among friends and family.

"To Abinta, Bangladesh was always home. She had a steadfast sense of responsibility to the country she was born in, the country where she lived a significant portion of her life," her bio at Abinta Foundation's website reads.

Today, even though Abinta is no more, her patriotism is being carried forward.

Abinta Kabir Foundation was launched in 2017 to help underprivileged children get education, and the Abinta Kabir Foundation School was established to help materialise her dream.

Initially, 36 children enrolled, but eventually the number of students at the school at the city's Madani Avenue of Baridhara stood at 90.

The school has a library of about 3,000 books and a computer lab. Students are charged a minimal fee, which is deposited in their names and will be refunded once they complete schooling. 

"The supreme aim [of the school] is to empower the students with necessary skills to break out the cycle of poverty for leading a life of dignity in future," according to the website of the Abinta Kabir Foundation.

The foundation has a programme called "Little Arts" that organises painting exhibition for underprivileged children. So far, 28 schools have participated in the programme.

The foundation also helped establish "Abinta Cyber Centre and Archive" at the Institute of Fine Arts of Dhaka University.

Abinta always dreamed that parents would have the chance to live with their children in their last days. The foundation built houses for 12 homeless people at Kaliakoir in Gazipur, to honour that wish.

Besides, Abinta Kabir Foundation donated special "pressure garments" clothing to the Acid Survivors' Foundation, that is used to protect skin even after facing acid burns.

The foundation initiated the "Abinta Young Change Leader" programme, involving 15 universities, to nurture ideas of the students.

Those coming up with best ideas are recognised through this programme in a bid to promote innovation and leadership.

Emory University in Atlanta established "Hossain-Kabir Room" at the Oxford College Campus in memory of Faraaz Ayaaz Hossain and Abinta Kabir.

The Oxford College also introduced a scholarship in the name of Abinta.

Abinta Kabir Foundation makes contribution to the scholarship for bright students in providing students' cost, including tuition fees and accommodation.