MAHARASHTRA: For many, policewoman Rahena Sheikh Bagwan is known as “Mother Teresa” — she has adopted 50 tribal students in Maharashtra’s Raigad district. She has also been in the forefront to help the needy and poor whenever they have been in trouble during the Covid-19 pandemic. Recognising her role in helping those in dire need, police commissioner Hemant Nagrale has honoured her. The social worker had joined the police force as a constable in the year 2000.
In addition to a compassionate asset to the police force, she is also a volleyball player and an athlete. Her passion to serve the needy has earned her allaround admiration. “We were about to celebrate our daughter’s birthday last year. Then I learnt about Dnyani Vidyalaya in Raigad’s Waje Taluka. I spoke to the principal and he invited us. The kids mostly come from poor backgrounds. Some of them didn’t even have footwear. We used up the money saved for my daughter’s birthday and Eid shopping to help them,” says Rahena. “I told my kids that this Eid we would not do any shopping to buy new clothes or invite guests.
My family supported the decision immediately,” says Rahena. Due to travel restrictions, she could not go to the Raigad school. “I called up the principal and expressed my wish to help his school students. He said instead of sending money, we should make an in-person visit to the school,” she recalls. “On the scheduled day, we went to Raigad to visit the school. I was pleasantly surprised to see the discipline among the students.
They wore masks and followed all Covid-appropriate behaviour while warmly welcoming us,” says Rahena. We spent the entire day with them and then decided to adopt 50 students from the school. “It gives me an immense pleasure and satisfaction that I can help someone. I want to see each one of them as successful citizens. Education is the key to change,” she says. Her service beyond the official duty doesn’t end here. When the pandemic wreaked havoc on Mumbai, Rahena helped her colleagues to get the plasma or blood. “I am happy that I saved several lives by helping people in getting Remdesivir, hospital beds, or oxygen cylinders,” says Rahena, who stays in a small house and chose the small kitchen to attend the calls at night and resolve the issues.”
Rahena always believes that one should match the high ideals with action. “Serving the needy is something more than just preaching. We have to do it in reality,” she says, thanking her husband for his support. “One day, I got a call asking for the ‘A+’ blood group for a cancer patient. Seeing my anxiety, my husband drove me to the hospital where the patient was waiting. My husband volunteered to donate his blood. I am very fortunate that I have got a very supportive family. Their encouragement has propelled me to earn appreciation from my seniors in the police department,” adds Rahena. The policewoman appeals to people to help every needy and poor person in whatever manner – by food, shelter, education, or medication. “We cannot see people going to bed without food and children without education in the 21st century. We should help without any expectation,” she says.