Belonging to the family of a martyred intellectual, Dr Fazle Rabbi, who was brutally killed during the 1971 Liberation War, I have always had a strong patriotic sentiment towards my country. And when we talk about the Liberation of Bangladesh, it's impossible not to mention our father of the nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman – the man who gave us our freedom.
I grew up hearing stories about the war and chronicles of Sheikh Kamal, as both my parents were his classmates, starting from how compassionate and succoring he was to people in their hour of need, to his convivial nature with his friends. Him and his wife Khuku Aunty's memoirs made me regret their passing away. As I was born way after the dark night of 1975, I painted my own imagination of them.
Even though I have lived in the US for the past 20 years, I always felt deeply connected to my country. Over the years I have always wanted to give back to my motherland and so in the recent few years, I started setting up my international business office in Bangladesh and got involved in working with the government.
When I started working in Bangladesh and especially with the government, I came to see firsthand how our honorable Prime Minister is leading the country toward Vision 2041. Today, as I write this special piece for her birthday which is an absolute honour for me, I want to really thank her for giving us the platform to create, build, innovate and grow the technical infrastructure of this country.
She has paved the path for all non-resident Bangladeshis like me to come back and use our expertise in and for the country. Her pragmatic and fearless approach has brought us where we are today.
When I left Dhaka in the early 2000's I remember just having a cellphone. Now when I travel back here, I can use Uber, Foodpanda, bKash, Chaldal, and various apps that make life so much easier. I think three is no doubt in anyone's mind that the credit for this progress goes to the Prime Minister.
It pleases me to see even the farmers, household help, guards, chauffeurs, rickshaw pullers are now technically proficient and capable of using smartphones and are taking advantage of the mobile technology by actually using apps. I think that's one of the true signs that our country is developing. Today we are a proud member of the digitally advanced world.
It gives me extreme joy to see how Bangladesh is riding up the charts as a developing nation, competing with other countries. I have loved all the work she has facilitated from the ICT and other ministries to train and educate our next generation by building tech hubs and training institutes. It has been an absolute pleasure for me to be closely associated with these projects as an advisor and mentor. She has focused on every ministry uniformly and has elected the right people, which may sound easy, but is anything but.
Sheikh Hasina has opened many sectors traditionally reserved for the public sector to the private sector, including e-commerce, health, banking, higher education, media and even export processing and economic zones. Her government has significantly widened and expanded social programmess to lift the poorest and underprivileged section of the population. Her development vision is enriched with diversification. As responsible citizens we should all play our role and support her in the endeavour.
We need to create jobs and employment opportunities through a thriving business environment, effective infrastructure, skilled labour, and a compatible policy environment that will attract private investments.
Our country is turning heads in the international market, which I have experienced living abroad. It needs to be a combined effort from both the government and private sector. Focusing on the financial, power, connectivity sector, urbanisation, educating and focusing on private and public institutions should be our priority.
Addressing climate change, as the Prime Minister has done to the world's accolades, by moving to solar power and green energy, will help us protect ourselves from natural calamities. Bridging infrastructure gaps would accelerate evolution and reduce spatial inequalities in opportunities across the country. We all want to build a better Bangladesh and secure our succeeding generations.
On a personal note, from childhood I have had a huge amount of respect and admiration for her as a strong woman. As someone who lost her family members to killers, I think I have a sense of the gravity of her loss and the pain she must have gone through. And I salute her for the way she overcame and fought for our nation.
I'm sure the pain is still raw, but we all learn to live with it. I revere how she has set the true example of women empowerment and is the face of our country today.
Rudmeela Nawsheen is a tech entrepreneur, Founder and CEO of ConfigVR and ConfigRbot at California, USA.