Abinta Kabir was 19 when she died. She never got to be the change-maker she wanted to be.
She was one of the youngest victims of a group of deranged and desensitised young men who attacked the Holey Artisan Bakery last year; a victim of a war she was not even a part of.
The much-loved only child of her parents, she was described by family and friends as a stunning, intelligent and motivated young woman who had always aspired to help others.
Fondly remembering Abinta, her family hosted her memorial at the Le Meridian Hotel on Saturday where they launched the Abinta Kabir Foundation
and a book titled “An Intimate Portrait of Abinta Kabir.”
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Ruba Ahmed, Abinta's mother, breaks out in tears during the launching of the Abinta Kabir Foundation at a hotel in Dhaka on Saturday, March 4, 2017 Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune
Her mother Ruba Ahmed inaugurated the foundation.
Abinta's family members, friends, US Ambassador Marcia Bernicat, Italian Ambassador Mario Palma, various diplomats (active and retired) and eminent members of society attended, among others.
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Photographs of Abinta serve as mementos at the foundation's launch Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune
Ruba said Abinta, Faraaz and Tarishi were childhood best friends.
Faraaz Ayaaz Hossain, 20, and Tarishi Jain, 19, were also among those killed in the attack. Faraaz was her fellow student at Emory University. Tarishi was an Indian national, who was an undergraduate student of economics at the University of California in Berkeley.
“Abinta always cherished a dream of doing something for her country, so we are launching the foundation to accomplish her dream,” said Ruba.
The foundation will work with underprivileged people, including children and the elderly, as well as setting up a school for girls, she added.
Ambassador Bernicat said: “Abinta was a promising young woman, attending one of the best universities in the USA and she could have gone on to do anything with her life that she chose to do. She had a drive to make the world and Bangladesh in particular, a better place. However, even in her absence, she is making the world a better place. Please let us join together to make the world the better place Abinta dreamed it could be.”
The book about Abinta, full of anecdotes, childhood photos, testimonials and segments of her journal, presents a complete picture the person she was: a woman who, despite her privileges, focused on the well-being of the elderly and the education of street children.
An excerpt from Abinta’s journal said: “I care about the people and one of my goals that I mentioned in the blueprint is to open an NGO in Bangladesh… Also, I believe that my culture and nationality are a huge part of who I am. Coming from Bangladesh, which is a developing nation, I feel as though it is my duty to help my country even if it is through a small contribution.”
Her desire to help the disenfranchised is clearly evident from her words and actions. But that is not all of who she was. Abinta loved to play sports, was an exceptional student and a very empathic young woman.
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In attendance were Abinta's family, her maternal grandparents, US Ambassador Marcia Bernicat, Italian Ambassador Mario Palma, eminent members of society and friends Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune
In another extract, Abinta wrote: “During my time as a volunteer, I met many victims of acid violence, mostly from the rural areas...Durjoy, an 8-year-old boy, was fed acid when he was a baby because his aunt was jealous of her sister for having a baby boy when she only had girls. The acid burned the boy's mouth and throat and he now needs to use a feeding pipe for the rest of his life. As I got close to Durjoy, I wondered what kind of life he would lead, as he grew older; as if this pain and lifetime burden were not enough, society also treats acid victims as outcasts...I am inspired by the strength of these people.”
Abinta would surely have changed the world for the better, but before she could do so, her life was cut short by the brutal militant attack.