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Salina Banu - Bangladesh

Course: Master of Science in Agriculture (Plant Pathology)
Institute: The University of Sydney
Location: Sydney, New South Wales

I became very encouraged to realize my goal of reaching high academically when I applied for the Aus-AID scholarship. When I received the award, my life had, however, changed dramatically – I had lost my husband in a road accident and became a single parent to a newborn baby and a 5-year-old daughter. In such a situation the Australian High Commissioner of Bangladesh supported me tremendously and allowed me to defer my award. The High Commissioner came to my home personally to show his support. A year later in 1993, I was off to Australia with my two daughters with a fresh start, which I really needed.

The knowledge and skills I learnt from the University of Sydney, the support I received from AusAID Sydney – all helped me in opening a new door in my research career when I came back to Bangladesh. Working at Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute, I was running my own international projects with USAID, Rice-Wheat Consortium, CABI International, CIMMYT, setting up the laboratory at Wheat Reseatch Center, attending international conferences – all of which were a dream to me before. Later, I received PhD fellowship from Third World Organization for Women in Science at International Rice Research Institute, Philippines. I received the award “Gold Medal” and recognition as fellow of Bangladesh Academy of Agriculture. All of these recognitions are due to my AusAID scholarship, the first big award in my life. Indeed, AusAID helped me not only become the researcher I am today, but a research leader, a strong woman and mother.

It has also given my kids the exposure to help them realize their own potentiality. My elder daughter received her graduation from abroad and is working in a good position, and my younger daughter is in her final year of graduation in engineering.

As an agriculturist, I am proud to say that we have made a breakthrough for food production in Bangladesh. We are the first generation in the area of molecular biology research. We need to have a strong collaboration in capacity building for molecular biology laboratory and a continuous process of technical support  from Australia. I hope AusAID will think about this issue for further work of returnees.

Thanks to AusAID again for giving me the recognition of “Australian Alumni Excellence Award 2014” for innovation and research. I hope this recognition will pave the way for my future research and further development in Bangladesh.

Last updated: Thursday, 19 November 2015 10:17:09 AM

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