The Incredible Story of Joynal Abedin

By Matthieu Ricard on June 20, 2012

61-year-old Joynal Abedin drives a rickshaw in Bangladesh. A rickshaw is a large tricycle with seats attached in the back that carry two or more passengers. He earns the equivalent of $6 a day. 

‟ My father died because we could not afford to take him to the hospital, which was a two-day walk from our home. I was so angry. People here think that because we are poor, we're helpless. I wanted to prove them wrong.” Joynal Abedin left for the city with one thing in mind: to build a hospital in his village, Tanhashadia. He vowed to return only after he had earned enough money to start this project.

And so, for thirty years, Abedin plugged away, putting aside half his daily earnings as a rickshaw driver. By age 60, he had saved $4,000. He returned to the village and was able to bring his dream to fruition; he built the hospital.

At first he could not get doctors to come. ‟They did not trust me,” he said. So he started with paramedics. After a while, people began to appreciate the incredible work that he had accomplished and more help arrived. Now the small village hospital treats 300 patients a day. It is maintained by the nominal fee its patients pay and by donations, many anonymous, that came once the news of his story hit the newspapers.

At 62, Abedin is still pedaling on his rickshaw, working hard to carry people, using every pedal for good.

BBC, World Service, Outlook, 21 Mars, 2012
Video of Abedin's story