Rabeya Sultana Rabbi grew up in extreme poverty. Her father, Abdul Aziz Farazy, a vegetable seller, struggled to manage his eight-member family. She could not even take part in her SSC exams in 2005. But poverty could not stop her.
Working for CARE Bangladesh, a non-government organisation (NGO), as an auto repair mechanic for 11 years, Rabbi is a proof that the auto industry is hardly just for men anymore.
While working in her workplace, a garage in the capital's Panthapath, Rabbi talked to Prothom Alo.
From a kind of curiosity, she joined a training programme of CARE Bangladesh that trains women to become drivers.
"After completing the training, I applied for the job of a driver. But, the NGO offered me to work as an auto technician. And, this is how it all started," Rabbi said.
Since then, she has no looking back. People who fondly call her 'Mechanic Rabbi Apa' get almost all kinds of auto repair services from her including fixing car brakes, filter change and more.
"Keeping my hands in the wheels of a vehicle, I can now say what is wrong with it," she said with pride.
The mother of a three-year old boy, Rabbi singlehandedly maintains her family as her husband is right now unemployed. Not just that, she even helps her old parents who live in their village home.
"Whenever I visit my village to see my parents, people crowd around me to know my job and salary. Their eyebrows furrow when I introduce myself as a technician. But, I love their curiosity," a smiling Rabbi said.
Rabbi also praised CARE Bangladesh saying, "There is no discrimination in my workplace."
CARE Bangladesh's transport manager, Md Selim Sheikh, told Prothom Alo that Rabbi is an excellent colleague who is not only a good mechanic but does many official tasks.
"The best part of Rabbi is that she never says 'no' to any work," he added.
*This report, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Imam Hossain.