Bangladeshi family remembers mother honored by UAE

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Khurshid Alam and his daughter Luva receive the certificate of honor from UAE Ambassador Saed Mohammed Al-Mheiri. (Photo credit: UAE Embassy in Dhaka)
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The school, funded by Dubai Cares and built in memory of Sufia Akhter Jusna, in Sunamgonj district. (Arab News photo)
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The school, funded by Dubai Cares and built in memory of Sufia Akhter Jusna, in Sunamgonj district, Bangladesh. (Arab News photo)
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Two of Sufia’s children hold their mother’s biography as they stand in front of their village house. (Photo credit: UAE Embassy in Dhaka)
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Khurshid Alam, husband of Sufia Akhter Jusna, with Abdulla Ali Al-Hamoudi, deputy head of mission at the UAE Embassy in Dhaka. (Photo credit: UAE Embassy in Dhaka)
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The school, funded by Dubai Cares and built in memory of Sufia Akhter Jusna, in Sunamgonj district. (Arab News photo)
Updated 14 April 2019

Bangladeshi family remembers mother honored by UAE

  • Sufia Akhter Jusna died saving two boys in her care from drowning
  • In honor of Sufia, the UAE-based charity Dubai Cares has funded the construction of a school in her name

DHAKA: Khurshid Alam, 55, was watering the orchard in his backyard on Oct. 25, 2014 when he received news of the sudden death of his wife, Sufia Akhter Jusna, in the UAE.

Sufia, 46, was a mother of six and her family’s sole breadwinner due to her husband suffering from a medical condition. She had been working in Dubai as a carer for two young boys, aged six and ten. On Oct. 24, whilst at the beach, the pair were dragged out to sea by a strong current. Sufia swam to their rescue, but drowned in the process.

“I fainted upon receiving the news and laid unconscious for hours. She was about to complete her job in Dubai and return home soon,” Khurshid said.

“She went to Dubai to make ends meet as I couldn’t do any tough work due to chronic asthma. My wife always dreamed of a brick-built house instead of a tin-sheet house. During our last conversation, just two days before her death, she said she had saved enough money to build it.”

Bangladeshi caregiver Sufia Akhter Jusna. 

Sufia’s body was flown from Dubai a week later, and she was laid to rest in her native village of Dharmapasha in Sunamgonj, 194 km from the capital Dhaka.

On April 9, her sacrifice was recognized by the UAE in a ceremony held at its embassy in Bangladesh. 

Ambassador Saed Mohammed Al-Mheiri presented a medal of honor to Sufia’s family, as well as compensation of $5,500.

Al-Mheiri said: “We express our deepest gratitude for her sacrifice, and the UAE will always support bereaved families.”

A school in Sufia’s name in Sunamgonj was also approved, which, though still under construction, is already teaching pupils. Funded by the UAE-based charity Dubai Cares, the initiative came at the direction of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, the prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, and is being overseen by the UAE Embassy in Dhaka.

Sufia and Khurshid’s eldest daughter, Luva, said: “Everything suddenly changed for our family after the sad demise of my mother. My father now has to struggle very hard to provide for my five teenage siblings.

“The loss is profound, but I am proud of my mother, who never thought twice about saving those boys, in whom she saw a reflection of her own children.”

Mali's prime minister steps down as anger mounts over massacre

Updated 15 min 5 sec ago

Mali's prime minister steps down as anger mounts over massacre

BAMAKO, Mali: Mali’s prime minister resigned along with his entire government on Thursday following criticism over their handling of an upsurge of violence in the center of the country and a massacre last month that left 160 people dead.
A statement from President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita’s office said he had accepted Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga’s resignation, along with those of his ministers, two weeks after mass protests erupted over the rising tide of violence.
Lawmakers from both ruling and opposition parties had submitted a motion of no confidence against the government on Wednesday, blaming Maiga and his administration for failing to clamp down on the unrest.
“A prime minister will be named very soon and a new government will be put in place after consultations with all political forces” from both the ruling and opposition sides, the statement from Keita’s office said.
The president had on Tuesday said in a televised address that he had “heard the anger,” without explicitly naming the prime minister.
The government had come under mounting pressure over its handling of violence in the restive Mopti region and especially a massacre on March 23 in which 160 people were killed in the village of Ogossagou near the border with Burkina Faso.
Members of the Dogon ethnic group — a hunting and farming community with a long history of tension with the nomadic Fulani people over access to land — were accused of being behind the mass killing.
Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Bamako on April 5 to protest against the upsurge of violence, accusing the government of not doing enough to stop it.
The protest was called by Muslim religious leaders, organizations representing the Fulani herding community, opposition parties and civil society groups.
Mali has been struggling to restore stability since Islamist extremists linked to Al-Qaeda took control of the country’s vast desert north in early 2012.
While the jihadists were largely driven out in a French-led military operation that began in January 2013, huge areas are still in the grip of lawlessness, despite a 2015 peace agreement with some armed groups that sought to definitively stamp out the Islamist threat.
Since then, militants have shifted from the north toward the more densely populated center of the country, where they have sharpened ancient rivalries and ethnic conflicts that date back years.
Jihadist attacks have also spread to Burkina Faso, Chad and Niger, forcing tens of thousands of people from their homes.