Bangladesh’s first female motor mechanic

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Rabeya Sultana Rabbi
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Rabeya Sultana Rabbi
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Rabeya Sultana Rabbi
Updated 11 July 2019

Bangladesh’s first female motor mechanic

  • Rabbi said her dream is to have her own motor workshop when she is financially able to do so

DHAKA: Breaking gender stereotypes in a male-dominated society, 33-year-old Rabeya Sultana Rabbi works as Bangladesh’s first female motor mechanic at the Care Bangladesh aid agency in Dhaka.

Having dropped out of school at grade 10 because she could not afford an exam fee of $15, Rabbi currently makes $550 per month.

She said her salary can comfortably provide for her husband, their 4-year-old son and her parents. Rabbi is seen as an inspiration by many of her fellow countrywomen. 

“Initially, I got training as a driver with some other girls. But I was afraid of driving on highways, so I decided to take up my career as a motor mechanic,” she told Arab News. “Girls in our country hardly come to this profession.”

Rabbi was born in a village in Dinajpur district to poor vegetable vendor Abdul Aziz Farazi, and was the youngest of six siblings.

“My father’s little daily income allowed only one cooked meal per day. We had to sleep with half-filled bellies as my mother needed to save food for the next day,” Rabbi said. 

“During my childhood, I had to watch my mother starving for days … My father had to go through hardships to make ends meet. It was at that time that I vowed to improve our family’s condition.”  

Rabbi said her husband Ekramul Haque fully supported her career choice. “He agreed to babysit our only child so I could follow my dream,” she added. 

Rabbi lauded the approach, attitude, kindness and consideration of her male colleagues. “It’s extremely challenging work for a woman in a country like Bangladesh, but I overcame all the obstacles and became what I am today. All you need is determination, talent and tolerance,” she said. 

Selim Sheikh, manager for transport at Care Bangladesh, said: “Rabbi is a quick learner and adopted motor mechanical knowledge in a short period of time. She has never refused any hard work. We’re proud of her.”

Prof. Ishrat Shamim of Dhaka University said: “It’s an eye opener. Apart from the success of women in the ready-made garments sector, a career as a female motor mechanic may open up a new vista of opportunity for courageous women like Rabbi in the future.”

Shamim, who is also president of the Center for Women and Children’s Studies, added that there should be motor workshops fully run by women to encourage more females to enter the profession and contribute to the country’s economy.  “Such efforts can ensure better earnings for women and boost socioeconomic development,” Shamim said.  

Rabbi said her dream is to have her own motor workshop when she is financially able to do so.


Malaysia arrests 680 Chinese nationals during online scam syndicate bust

Updated 47 min 11 sec ago

Malaysia arrests 680 Chinese nationals during online scam syndicate bust

  • Immigration officers track escaped suspects, seize thousands of electronic devices after huge sting operation
  • Operators would send a code to certain websites in mandarin and scam their victims’ money through WeChat services and banks in China

KUALA LUMPUR: At least 680 Chinese nationals have been arrested and hundreds more are being tracked down after Malaysian immigration authorities busted an online scam syndicate.

Around 150 immigration officers on Wednesday launched an early morning raid on sixth-floor office premises in the town of Cyberjaya, in Selangor, as part of a carefully planned sting operation.

Immigration director general, Khairul Dzaimee Daud, told Arab News that investigations were still underway into the alleged scamming activities of the 603 men and 77 women, aged between 19 and 35, arrested during the bust.

The scam is believed to have targeted Chinese citizens by offering fast profits in return for investments through the popular social media platform WeChat Pay.

Working from the syndicate’s Cyberjaya base, operators would send a code to certain websites in mandarin and scam their victims’ money through WeChat services and banks in China.

Following tip-offs from members of the public, Malaysian authorities conducted a month-long surveillance of the building before mounting the raid during which officers seized thousands of items of electronic equipment, including 8,230 handphones, 787 computers and 174 laptops.

Daud said on Thursday that those arrested had violated Malaysia’s immigration laws by entering the country on social visit passes with some overstaying their visa time limits.

“All of the Chinese nationals could not produce their passports or travel documents after being arrested, and no representative could produce valid documents on behalf of them,” the immigration chief added.

A number of immigration officers required treatment for injuries after scuffles broke out during the bust, and up to 150 Chinese nationals are thought to have escaped from the building.

Aerial videos showing suspects jumping from windows and fleeing the building quickly went viral on social media.

“The immigration department will continue to be on the lookout for individuals involved in the scam activities and is working closely with the Malaysian central bank and the police,” added Daud.