Salma Hussain, the young social worker from Guwahati, received the TAN Youth Icon of the year 2016 awarded by ‘The Assam News’ at a glittering event held at the Work Garage at Gulshan Grand in the city on Sunday evening. She won more than 50 per cent of the votes in a contest where the rest of the votes was shared by nine other contenders including Miss India Priyadarshini Chatterjee and Indian Idol first Runner Up Nahid Afrin.
In addition, Salma also won a youth leadership award for her contribution in the field of human rights and for creating awareness about human rights among different sections of people of Assam. Six other youngsters who received the leadership award at the function were Dhrubajyoti Gogoi, Riddhinil Roy, Swapnanil Talukdar, Hironmoy Gogoi, Manas Pratim Borah, and Imran Adward Hussain.
Background of Salma Hussain
Salma Hussain hails from Sontoli, a village with merely 17 per cent literacy rate whose inhabitants are perpetual victims of erosion by the Brahmaputra. Her father’s dream was to see Sontoli transform into an educated society. He did everything he could to see a change. He himself was a history lecturer, with a double MA in history and political science, besides being a good writer. He wrote a book titled ‘Bohiragoto homoshya aru axom andolan.’ Salma’s mother teaches Assamese in a school. ‘My brothers are my greatest strength,’ proclaims Salma, and adds ‘They have never made me feel the absence of my father who left for his heavenly abode in 2001 leaving behind the dream of a changed society. I am walking forward to fulfil that dream.’
Salma did her schooling at Marian School, Barpeta Road. It was a missionary boarding school that polished her to perfection. Salma, who did her class XI & XII at B Barooah College is presently pursuing her LLB at NERIM Law College in the city.
Achievements of Salma Hussain
Salma has so far worked in her own individual capacity though she has collaborated with organisations from time to time. For example, she conceptualised and led the Secret Santa project of the Stars of North East, an as yet informal group of dedicated, mostly young people. The project involved distributing blankets among the homeless pavement dwellers of Guwahati. For a change, the drive was organised at midnight of December 23-24, 2016. A van was filled with blankets and Stars of North East volunteers rode alongside on motorbikes and cars. According to Salma, ‘We organised the drive at midnight because to build empathy with the homeless, we should actually understand the position they are in. Unless the chilly night air leaves its imprint on our skin, we can never understand what it does to the people who meet it with their semi-naked bodies.’
About the turning points in her life, she remembers two. One was when she and her batch mates could successfully start a social welfare club at school which helped people from the slum areas and second when she became the only one from the entire eight states of the North East to be selected for the National Human Rights Commission internship that was conducted in New Delhi last year.
Salma says that she has been incredibly lucky in meeting and collaborating with people who are equally dedicated, good hearted and who have a positive outlook towards life. Salma stresses upon positivity as a virtue that acts as a shield against the deprivation and wretchedness of people she works among, stops her from being dejected and gives her the energy and the drive to move on. According to her, being a social worker requires being frank, devoted and most important, maintaining a certain level of flexibility.
Source- Nurul Laskar