International bravery award for poor Muslim girl


Patna : A teenage girl in Bihar received $2,000 and a letter of appreciation from an international association for saving the lives of five people from drowning during recent floods in the state.

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Supreme Master Ching Hai World Association, a Hong Kong-based International organisation engaged in humanitarian activities, facilitated Farzana Wednesday for her rare courage.

The 15-year-old had risked her own life and saved a woman, three children and an obese man when an overloaded boat capsized in the swollen waters of Panar river in Purnea district during floods this September.

Yetu Ken, a representative of the association, visited her village in Baisi and lauded her. He said Farzana had inspired a large number of people, particularly children, by her act of bravery.

Farzana belongs to a family below the poverty line.

Yetu Ken said Supreme Master Ching Hai World Association has honoured Farzana to publicise such rare feats that often go unreported.

“Farzana jumped into the river without wasting time, after she heard their cries for help,” Jamil Ahmad, Farzana’s father, said.

Ahmad, a landless worker, said Farzana was washing her clothes when an overloaded boat carrying 15 people, three motorbikes and a couple of bicycles suddenly overturned and capsized.

Ahmad said Farzana is an expert swimmer, unlike many girls of her age in the village near the river. She learnt swimming at a very young age.

Farzana has now become a household name in and around her village.

Everyone here has been talking of her courage and bravery, local police officials said.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar announced Farzana — who had dropped out of school for economic reasons — would be educated free of cost. She was admitted to Kasturba Gandhi School at Baisi.

Senior police officials and some local leaders have also announced rewards for Farzana.