Born in the outskirts of Netrakona, Sakhina Akhter stood 15th in the Bangladesh Judicial Service Commission Examination across the country. A graduate of Northern University Bangladesh (NUB), she was recommended as an assistant judge, following her success in the examination in 2019.
Akhter is the youngest of her five siblings. Education was not a priority around the rural area that she grew up in. "Due to financial hardships and superstitions, my other siblings never passed high school. I was different because I loved studying," she explained.
Although she was not supported in her ambitions by her family, her teachers encouraged her to pursue her studies. Eventually, this left a positive impression on her parents.
Since her family members were prone to illnesses, Akhter initially wanted to be a doctor. However, thinking that a science background in education would be too expensive in the end, she was not allowed to pursue it.
She enrolled into the Department of Law at NUB with a scholarship programme, once she convinced her family to let her study in Dhaka. "I have always wanted to work for the country," she asserted.
Though her academic results brought her scholarships, she still had to take another yearlong hiatus due to financial constraints. While staying home in Netrakona, Akhter took a loan to continue her studies. She returned to Dhaka, and started participating in several Moot Courts, winning a championship in 2018.
She simultaneously prepared for both the judiciary service exam and her master's. She also attended the Human Rights Summer School that year, a training platform on human rights, which intends to apprise young participants from different countries.
After completing her master's, she was awarded the President's Gold Medal in 2019. She sat for the Judicial Service Commission Examination around then. It was difficult for her to attend the viva exam during the ongoing pandemic in 2020. Despite the hurdles, she rose above it all with her brilliant success.
"Right before my exams, my father told me that he wanted to see me as a judge. I wanted to make him proud. I wanted people to know my family through me," she said. "Now, more girls in my village are becoming serious about their education."
Akhter never thought of giving up in her uphill battle so far, and plans to go much further. "To me, a judge is someone who is honest, philanthropic, and patriotic. They dedicate their life for justice," she added.
The author is a freelance journalist. Write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.