WOMAN of ACTION – Razia Bibi

A Celebration of Women

is honored to Celebrate the Life of this yet another, amazing woman of dignity, humility, love and strength.

Her challenges living through the floods of Pakistan, destroyed her house, leaving her family homeless and powerless. With her strength, she stood tall, dug her feet deep into the ground and started from scratch, never giving up.

WOMAN of ACTION

Razia Bibi

“The food we received from WFP has been a big help in these months as we have rebuilt our home,” says Razia. (Copyright: WFP/Martin Penner)

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Razia and her family were badly hit in the floods that devastated Pakistan last summer. But they’re now getting back on their feet. Helped by food assistance from WFP, Razia’s life is starting to return to normal. Here’s one day in her life – six months after the floods.

MULTAN – Razia Bibi, 39, lives in a little village called Chandia in central Pakistan. She and her family lived on an embankment for a month last summer as monsoon flooding flattened all the homes in her community.

Bringing their four precious goats with them, they returned to the village as floodwaters subsided in September and they started to pick up the pieces of their lives. Monthly food rations from WFP have kept them going while they have rebuilt their house and slowly returned to normality.

Razia and her husband, who works in a tea-shop in a city 45 minutes away, were determined that they would not rebuild their house out of the same mud bricks as before. The soft blocks had melted away as the flood water rose.

They decided to sell three of their goats in order to pay for high-quality bricks which would be more resistant if there was another flood. Their new two-room house is more robust, although it is still very spartan.

Selling three goats has left them without any real assets – nothing to sell if another disaster hits the family. They’re hoping their one remaining goat will soon produce kids, which they can keep or sell.

Razia picked up the family’s last food ration in December. Now her husband is back at work and they have a house, she and her family are able to support themselves.

Their six children are back at school and life seems to be almost normal again.

Story thanks to The World Food Program: www.wfp.org



SARGODHA, Pakistan, June 10, 2012 (CDN) — A Christian woman here said she has been falsely accused of theft, beaten, threatened with rape and forced to resign her job in a bid to keep her from obtaining full benefits as a regular government employee.

Razia Bibi, a 38-year-old sanitation worker known as Rajji of village No. 47-NB (Northern Branch), Sargodha, was due to obtain regular status as a government employee at Aysha Girls’ Hostel at the University of Sargodha at the end of May. On May 7, however, Muslim office worker Safia Bibi accused her of stealing 10,000 rupees (US$120) from her cubicle – and when Muslim hostel warden Noshaba Bibi learned of it, she called female police officers and ordered them to beat her until she confessed, Rajji said.

“Lady police constables subjected me to inhumane thrashing with bamboo sticks and kept saying that I must confess or they would not spare me,” she said, adding that she was beaten for four hours in one of the hostel rooms. “I said that, being a Christian from childhood, I had learned not to steal, therefore I told them the truth, but it seemed they were bent on making me confess a crime I had not committed.”

Her comment about being a Christian and therefore not having stolen anything seemed to especially enrage Safia Bibi and Noshaba Bibi, she said.

“Hostel officials turned violent, and they called Haaser Khan, the chief security officer of the university, accompanied by two junior security guards, and ordered them to take me into a cubicle and take off my clothes and rape me,” she said. “I raised a cry for help, but there was no one to help me.”

Her husband, Nayyer Aftab, told Compass that someone informed him that his wife was in serious trouble at her workplace. Rushing to the girls’ hostel, he said, he found the security guards dragging his wife on the ground as she screamed for help. When Aftab asked why they were treating her this way, Khan charged him with his baton and left him injured on the ground, Aftab said. The chief security officer took Rajji inside.

“Both hostel officers, Noshaba and Safia, told me that Rajji had stolen 10,000 rupees, and that because she didn’t confess her crime the security guards were going to teach her a lesson,” Aftab said.

Aftab said he knew that his wife would not confess to theft even to spare herself from rape, and he pleaded with the two accusers to stop the security guards, promising that he would pay them the amount of the allegedly stolen money.

“At this both Safia and Noshaba ordered to bring Rajji out and not rape her,” Aftab told Compass. “They gave me an hour to make payment of the allegedly stolen amount.”

He said he went to friends and relatives to gather up the 10,000 rupees and gave it to Safia Bibi and Noshaba Bibi, but Aftab said they still compelled his wife to resign by forcibly obtaining a thumb print from the illiterate woman on a resignation statement.

Rajji said she had been happily looking forward to obtaining regular employee status

“In three weeks I was going to become a regular employee as a sanitation worker at the university, but as I am a Christian, the Muslim hostel officers Safia and Noshaba wanted a Muslim regular employee after their hearts instead of me,” she told Compass.

Noshaba Bibi initially refused to comment on the allegation that she falsely accused the Christian woman of theft in order to provide a job to someone of her choice. After repeated questioning by Compass, however, she became exasperated and used coarse language, yelling, “Yes, I have done it, do whatever you want!”

The Christian couple in the village in Punjab Province has an 8-year-old daughter and two sons, ages 9 and 5.

A Celebration of Women

sends our blessings and love to this Woman of our World in Pakistan, a

Mother of Faith, Honor and Strength.

Brava, Razia!


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