The policewoman comes from a poor family from the diocese of Mymensingh. The local Church and the priests helped her to pay for her studies. "My dream is to help other poor students who do not have the money to pay for school".
Dhaka (AsiaNews) - Bangladesh has its first Christian female police sergeant. She is Lima Chisim and comes from a poor family of Biroidakuni, in the diocese of Mymensingh. She studied at the Biroidakuni High School in Mymensingh and later graduated from the public university in Dhaka. She became a policewoman in 2015, after six months of training. Daughter of a father who did not struggle to keep family members, Lima changed the fate of family members. In life, he follows in a faithful way the values of Christ. She was active in the initiatives of the [local] Church and carried out social work with priests and nuns.
Lima has agreed to speak with the AsiaNews correspondent in the Pime House of Dhaka [the residence of the fathers of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions, ed.]. As a sergeant, she holds a mid-level position within the police force. In Bangladesh, the sergeants are responsible for regulating traffic and are in charge of maintaining order on the roads of the country. We serve the community by ensuring traffic safety. In 2015, for the first time, the Bengali police hired 28 women as road sergeants. Among them, only Lima is Christian.
What motivated her to become a police officer?
In 2008, I attend in a reception program of first Catholic State Minister for Social Welfare Advocate Promod Manikn in Dhaka. At that time I read in collage. In the program a Muslim sergeant named Kamrul Bage was present from our Mymensingh. He talked along others in the program as guest, at that time I felt I should be a Sergeant. But I did not know that in Bangladesh don’t have any Sergeant post for woman. However, in 2015, I saw a job vacancy notice in the newspaper. I applied for the post and I gave test and I was passed.
Who helped you apply to get into the police?
When I was selected in the exam, I was very happy. On the other hand I was also very worried because my relatives said without bribe it is not possible to get job in police department. I was passing worries days. At that time, my cousin Father Joseph Chisim advised me to meet another Catholic Sergeants named Amol Gomes. Amol Gomes and Catholic politician Advocate Promod Mankin gave me their reference. I did good in test and got job in Bangladesh police. I am very thankful to them. I think this during this government time, they hire employ without any bribe.
Did you have to overcome social obstacles to be a policewoman,?
My village people said to my father and mother that without bribe your daughter will not get the job, and although she get job she could not lead honest life. But I think they were wrong.
Tell us about your family.
My father Bikash Richil is a farmer and mother Baby Chisim is a house wife. We are two sister and we have two brothers, among them I am eldest child of our parents. They all stay in Biroidakuni parish in Mymensingh. My father could not provide us three meals in a day and could not bear our educational costs. However, I got support from Catholic diocese of Mymensingh, priests, nuns and World Vision Bangladesh in different time in my study life. Without their help I could not have finished my study.
What do you think of the profession you have undertaken?
It is a real challenge. With my work, I am at the service of the rich, the poor and the [people of] middle class. One day I met a man who was going to New Market (a famous shopping area in Dhaka), but he had been robbed of everything. The victim shared with me what had happened to him. I spoke to the driver of a public transport bus and convinced him to bring him back home. I intervene to protect victims of theft attempts. Almost every day I help someone.
What is the advantage of your work?
I have a good salary. I can have a promotion after five years. I receive security and social respect. I can do this job for the next 30 years.
What kind of challenges do you face as a policewoman?
Being woman police, my colleagues do cooperation me. My duty is to control transport in the road. It is a challenge that there are few public toilets in the city. It is a biggest challenge for woman police, but our authority gives us duty where has lavatory nearby. When women police ask help by walkie talkie, our control room take our message first and take action rapidly. Some drivers would not obey the traffic rules. They became anger on woman police, they seem woman police will fear them, but I take action against them if they do any illegal. It is really a challenging job especially like Dhaka city.
How can you apply your Christian values in your work place?
I built my basic foundation in the missionary school, it is Holy Cross Brother runs the school. Beside academic education, they also taught moral values. My parents, priests and nuns taught me Christian values. I was involved in different church activity when I was student like Young Catholic Student (YCS), a movement for Catholic students. All these help me to be a perfect human being and I follow in my profession aptly. I never think to be dishonest in my life. I want serve my whole life like salt and light of holy Bible.
What is your dream?
I see dream to help to helpless people in my life. I wish very soon I will start sponsor some needy students who cannot read for money because in my past days, I also obtained many support from Catholic priests, nuns, and fund of Catholic diocese of Mymensingh. If I did not get support from them, today I could not be a police. Therefore, I determined I will help some helpless learners so that they also can fulfill their dream, it is my dream!