Five people have received the prestigious Rokeya Padak 2017 for their outstanding contributions to the society and the empowerment of women.
They are- freedom fighter and organizer Mazeda Shawkat Ali, journalist Mahfuza Khatun Baby Moudud (posthumous), artiste Suraiya Rahman, writer Shobha Rani Tripura, and social worker Masuda Faruk Ratna.
was a veteran journalist with an illustrious career that began in 1967. She worked for the daily Sangbad, the daily Ittefaq, the Azad, daily Gonobangla, the daily Muktakantha and BBC.
She also served as the head of Bangla Service of Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS). She was also acting editor of Saptahik Bichitra.
At the time of her death on July 25, 2014 she was the social affairs editor of bdnews24.com.
had joined the Womens Voluntary Association in 1958 as a staff artist. She started the “Skill Development for Under Privileged Women” in 1982 where underprivileged women made nakshi katha on silk that took almost a year to make. Suraiya became famous for her designs on nakshi katha soon.
Four years later, she also established another organization named “Arshi” for the welfare of underprivileged women. There is a documentary on Suraiya called “Threads.”
Freedom fighter Masuda Faruk Ratna
was born in Narsinghdi, October 28, 1954. For several decades, Masuda has worked for social development on wide-ranging issues from forestation to education for children with disabilities. After the 1998 flood, she organised the construction of 1,000 sanitary latrines and 500 tube-wells in Narshinghdi’s Manohardi upazila.
She was a witness of the martyred intellectuals case and founded the first martyred intellectuals library, helping prevent distortion of history.
Freedom fighter Mazeda Shawkat Ali
was born in Shariatpur, July 9, 1947. She took part in the Liberation War of 1971 from Sector 2. Her husband Shawkat Ali was a sub-commander of the sector.
After independence, Mazeda made it her life’s mission to empower women and fight for their rights. She has worked tirelessly for socio-economic development of women, prevention of child marriage, legal aid, education, health and sanitation.
Shobha Rani Tripura
, born February 2, 1959, in Rangamati, is an acclaimed writer who has authored numerous books on the lives of small ethnic groups and other issues.
She has written short stories, novels and plays. Her writings have been published in papers and magazines across the country as well as abroad and have won her several awards.
Currently Shobha is serving as the headmistress of Mahalchharhi Choungrachharhi Government Primary School.