It was 3am when Abdur Rahim received a panicked phone call. There was a thief on the loose, and a cow had gone missing.
Rahim hopped on his motorcycle and whirred down the wide, empty roads, heading straight for the client’s house. He found them all frantically searching.
“Rahim bhai, we have looked everywhere!”, he said. “What can I do?”
It was a difficult situation in the dead of the night. What could anyone do?
Rahim headed to the nearest mosque. He woke up the sleeping muezzin (the man who calls out the azaan), and urged him to make an announcement from the mosque’s microphone.
“A COW HAS BEEN STOLEN,”
He announced at 4am,
“ IT BELONGS TO A BRAC CLIENT. PLEASE LOOK OUT FOR IT.”
This odd announcement caught the attention of four other mosques in the area. Right before the Fajr prayers, they too were sounding the alarm for the missing cow.
The message reached staff from other BRAC offices in Thakurgaon, in north-western Bangladesh. They got on their bikes too and started scouting the area, beaming their headlights through fields of sugarcane and paddy in search of the stolen cow.
Where was it?
Finally, a sign. Rahim received a phone call from a man who claimed to have seen a cow wandering in one of the sugarcane fields. They rushed to the field, and found the cow. The thief had panicked and fled the scene, tying the cow to a tree beside the road.
This is one of many stories that Abdur Rahim has stored up from the last 11 years with BRAC’s targeting the ultra poor programme.
Abdur Rahim had always been a people person, working as a marketing representative for a number of corporate organisations before joining BRAC in 2007. When he joined as a Branch Manager in Gazipur, he had very little idea about what BRAC did, he just wanted to help people. He realised the depth of his work when he met an older woman who had not had anything to eat in two days. He then took her to a nearby shop and bought her food and water. She broke into tears thanking him, and he has not looked back since.
“I, alone, may not have the resources to change the lives of millions,” he said, “but I can change the lives of those at least thousands around me. No deed is too small, or too odd. I always feel that I am a part of something bigger.”
Rahim has never backed away from serving his clients’ needs, even if it is about a missing cow at 3am.
He is now the regional manager of Thakurgaon. Since 2007, he has worked (directly and indirectly) with almost 8,000 clients, and has seen them graduating from the programme, and becoming self-sustainable. Nothing makes him prouder.