Arifa Jahan Bithi is a 23-year-old former cricketer who is now considered to be a ‘life saver’ in Rangpur district
As the country has been suffering heavily from the tides of Covid-19, a number of people have been leaving their comfort zone to help people in distress, risking their own lives.
Such is the tale of Arifa Jahan Bithi, who recently was given the name “Oxygen Lady" as a token of respect for her courage during this critical time, reports BSS.
Arifa Jahan, 23, a former cricketer in Rangpur, has helped the people of the district with finding oxygen during the coronavirus crisis.
SM Osman Gani, son of a Covid-19 survivor and resident of Dhap Katkipara in Rangpur, said: “What she did for my family … she is nothing short of a life saver.
“My father was fighting the deadly virus three months ago. We were looking for oxygen and weren’t finding any. At that time, the Oxygen Lady came to our rescue with an oxygen cylinder,” he told BSS.
Bithi built an oxygen bank with the help of some personal donors by conducting a campaign on Facebook. She has been using the funds to deliver life-saving oxygen cylinders to poverty-stricken Covid-19 patients.
Arifa herself does not come from a well-off family. She earlier earned bread and butter for her family members by playing cricket. She is also the founder of Women's Dreamer Cricket Academy Rangpur, the first of its kind in the area.
Arifa said: “Yes, it’s true that I have to work hard to support my own family. But I can’t resist myself from helping others after witnessing the misery and helplessness of the patients.”
She was a cricketer who used to play in the Women’s Premier Cricket League in Dhaka but, due to an injury, she was compelled to go back to her native town Rangpur a few years ago.
However, the injury was not able to conquer her spirit and she soon found other pursuits.
“After returning to Rangpur, when I realized that I would not be able to continue my sports career as a cricket player, I started giving cricket training to local girls,” she added.
With hard work and determination, Arifa built the cricket training academy for girls in Rangpur.
“I had 250 girls in my institute, but had to shut down my training centre when Covid-19 surged in our area and the government imposed the lockdown,” she said.
Arifa also said one day she thought it was time to stand beside the poor, especially as she was stuck at home with no work.
“At first I was in a dilemma over how I would do it. But many people have come forward with financial help since I launched a campaign on my Facebook page for supplying oxygen,” she added.
“Oxygen cylinders are always stored away for emergencies so that they can be delivered to the people concerned as soon as possible,” she further said.
Like Arifa, another woman in Dhaka named Sheikh Suhana Islam has been working to deliver oxygen cylinders to Covid patients in Dhaka since the outbreak of the deadly virus in the country.
"We are giving oxygen support to those patients who cannot go to the hospital," said Suhana, a software engineer residing at Panthapath.
Suhana said she collects oxygen cylinders from wholesale markets with financial support from donors and delivers them to distressed people free of cost.