1590Published on March 31, 2018
The government has granted citizenship to Lucy Helen Frances Holt, a British national who has lived in Bangladesh for the past 57 years. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina presented Holt with a citizenship award on Saturday.
Her sister, Sheikh Rehana, and daughter, Saima Wazed Hossain, were also present.
The 87-year-old British national has spent 57 years in Bangladesh.
She had long hoped to receive ‘dual citizenship’ before her death. Her wish was granted on Saturday.
Holt was born on Dec 16, 1930 at St Helens in the UK. She joined the Oxford Mission in Barisal in 1960 to perform social work and began teaching primary school children.
During the Liberation War of 1971, she taught English at a catholic church in Jessore. The church was closed and the people there were evacuated, but Holt refused to go and instead tended to those wounded in the war.
In 1973, after the war, Holt sent a letter and presents to Sheikh Fazilatunnessa Mujib. She received an answer to her letter from Sheikh Rehana, writing on behalf of her mother.
Holt worked in Khulna, Naogaon, Kurigram, Gopalganj and Dhaka before her retirement in 2004. She later returned to Barisal’s Oxford Mission to oversee the mental development of children and teach them English.
Though many others return home following their retirement, Holt has stayed due to her deep connection to Bangladesh and Barisal.
Holt wishes to spend the rest of her life in Barisal and wishes to be buried in Bangladesh after her death.
Holt is currently living on a Tk 7,500 pension and, prior to her citizenship, had to extend her visa after paying a Tk 38,000 fee.
Holt was previously granted a 'super visa' with 15 years of multiple entries.
Holt received her multiple-entry gratis visa from Hasina on Feb 8 at a public rally at the Bangabandhu Udyan in Barisal.
At that time, Hasina assured her that the authorities would look into her application for citizenship.
Within four days of that assurance, the authorities decided on the matter at an inter-ministerial meeting held at the home ministry on Feb 12.