The Spirit of Never Giving Up: Taking up Challenges to Defend Human Rights

Shamsunnahar (57), for nearly half of her life, has been working as a woman human rights defender and a field staff member of Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK). She limps while she walks, but does not quiver while she talks; she frequents hospitals, relies heavily on medicines, but that does not prevent her from being the defender she truly is.
Back in 2018, one Farzana (pseudonym), a victim of physical and mental abuse by her husband, sought ASK’s shelter services which ASK subsequently provided. To teach her a lesson, her husband filed a false suit of theft against Farzana in the Senior Judicial Magistrate Court of Magura. Subsequently, the Magura Police reached ASK’s shelter home and asked her to surrender. ASK sent Shamsunnahar along with Farzana to accompany her. The next day, with ASK’s assistance, Farzana was granted bail. When they were on their way back to Dhaka by bus, Farzana’s husband along with several other miscreants, ambushed the bus and dragged both Shamsunnahar and Farzana out of it. They then beat Sahmsunnahar brutally. Shamsunnahar was later rescued and admitted to the hospital for her treatment. ASK provided her with the necessary medical aid. ASK provided her with psycho-social and physical counseling, and the Litigation Unit of ASK also filed a case against Farzana’s husband and the gang.

With age, comes weakness; and alternatively, requires immense strength for field activity. After the incident, even though Samsunnahar’s reliance on medicines has increased, with frequent visits to the hospitals; at the age of 56, she continues to have a strong and bold personality, with the spirit of never giving up and continues to work in such challenging situations.
As of date, Samsunnahar continues to work for ASK as a field staff worker. Acknowledging her contribution Nina Goswami the Senior Deputy Director (Programme) of ASK said “Shamsunnahar has been facing several obstacles which placed her in dangerous situations since a very young age. She has dedicated her whole life to protect women who fall victim to various human rights violations. She tried her level best to provide these women with the platform to receive help and assistance. ASK is proud to have created such an active and dedicated human rights defender who willingly takes up the challenge every single day and continues to work in this sector, despite the obstacles.”
We take pride in her contribution and she inspires many including us to stand up and take action to ensure the rights of women and girls.