Rima Sultana Rimu’s relentless mission to empower women
Rima Sultana Rimu is one of the two Bangladeshis on the 2020 BBC 100 inspiring and influential women list, from around the world. She is relentlessly working to empower women and eliminate gender discrimination, violence, and child marriage in conflicted areas of Bangladesh.
Rima has been involved in social welfare from a young age. "Back in my school days, I saw many girls drop out due to social stigma, including some of my friends," she says. "I felt an indomitable urge to do something for them. This is what got me started in social welfare in 2018, just after passing my SSC examinations."
In 2018, Rima joined a local woman rights organisation called, Jago Nari Unnayon Sangsta (JNUS), and started her journey to realise women and children's rights in society as well as fight against violence, gender discrimination, and child marriage.
"I visited the Rohingya camp in Cox's Bazar under the Literacy and Numeracy initiative from JNUS in 2018 and I was grieved to see so much discrimination against women," shares the social activist.
"The children in the camp were also deprived of their basic rights to education. I wanted to help them, and ended up becoming their teacher."
When asked about her experience with JNUS, Rima shares her thoughts. "Our executive director, Sheuly Sharma treats me like her own daughter, encouraging and supporting me in every step," she says.
"There are many girls like me who begin social work dreaming of building a better society," points out Rima. "However, as girls, we have to face taunts and much negativity. Many good-hearted girls have left social welfare due to this."
Rima is also a member of the Young Women Leaders for Peace programme under the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders.
Under the banner of their "Empowering Women to Contribute to Sustainable Peace" project, the Young Women Leaders for Peace programme intends to promote rights of women and children.
"We are hoping to empower women financially in the near future. I wish to establish either a hospital or a school to serve the underprivileged," concludes Rima.
The author is a freelance journalist. Email: email@example.com.