The story of Rabeya is not unlike the stories of the hundreds of people who lost their lives or limbs in the Savar tragedy, but she inspires her fellow victims with a steadfast commitment to the single dream in her life: to study.
All Rabeya, whose spine was badly damaged in the building collapse, wants now is a chance to live her dream.
“I just want one more chance; I want to study. I could not continue my studies before and now I have become handicapped. I am not fit to work anymore,” the 16-year-old said.
Rabeya’s injuries have rendered her permanently disabled.
Before she became a garments worker, she was a student and cherished the dream of becoming an educated and enlightened person.
Lying on her hospital bed at the Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed (CRP), Savar, she narrates the story of her life our correspondent.
“Two years ago, my sister Hamida and I were eighth grade students in Imandipur Unique School. We were performed well and always achieved top positions in class,” she recalled.
“But unfortunately, in 2011, my father Mohammad Saleh Liton met with a road accident that rendered him permanently unable to move one of his hands and legs. My father was a truck conductor and the sole wage-earner in our six-member family.”
“I am the eldest of our siblings and all of us are girls. I decided to step into my father’s shoes and take care of my family. So together with Hamida, who is just a year younger than me, I quit school and joined a garments factory at Rana Plaza,” Rabeya said.
She was a swing operator of New Wave Style Limited, which was on the 7th floor of the building when the building started caving in.
“On April 24, the day Rana Plaza collapsed, we were both at work. I remember people running around, trying to get to the stairs and out of the building. I remember heading for the stairs myself. Something happened then and I cannot recall anything else after that,” she said.
When she regained her senses one day later, she found herself lying on a hospital bed watched over by her father. He informed her that she was in Dip Clinic in Savar and her sister, Hamida, was admitted there as well.
Hamida’s injury was not as severe as Rabeya’s.
“On April 26, doctors from CRP visited Dip Clinic and asked us to shift Rabeya to their facility.” Rabeya’s father Liton told the Dhaka Tribune.
He further said, “They told us that Rabeya would not be able to walk anymore due to the fracture in her spine and advised that she stay here for at least six months.”
“Without having my daughter around to take my family’s financial responsibility, I do not know how we will survive. But I want her to get proper treatment and be able to do whatever she wants to do,” he added, holding back tears.