Refugee crisis in Bangladesh: "Of all the things I miss from Myanmar, I miss my dad the most"
Oct 10, 2017
Roida is ten years old. She is from a village in Myanmar. Roida fled the increasing violence in Myanmar with her family and arrived in Bangladesh as a refugee on in September, 2017. Now she lives in Balukhali camp. She lives in a shelter with her mother, father and her three siblings. Her brother Abdu is married with a young baby and his family also shares the tent. Roida collected food for her family from a CARE Bangladesh food distribution.
Roida’s story in her own words:
“Men ran into our village, shouting and shooting at us. They were killing us and burning our houses. We had to run away. We rushed back to our house at the edge of the village.
We had to hurry. I only had about an hour to get ready and pack. All I was able to bring with me was a small bag of clothes. Everything else was left behind. When I looked back, the village was burning.
It took us four days to get to the camp. It was very tough. We had to go without food and we just slept on the road side.
We have been living here for 20 days. The worst thing about life here is the toilets. There are only two toilets for this whole area of people, and they are always dirty and full. It takes me 10 minutes to walk there, and then we have to stand in line.
The other thing I hate is getting water. The tap is at the bottom of the hill, and then I have to carry the water up and it’s heavy and I am scared to spill it. Here, there is nowhere to wash, nowhere private at all.
I have two meals a day. Usually rice, and sometimes we have some dried fish, and some vegetables. I will save this [CARE provided cooked rice meal] for dinner. I like it, but I would rather plain rice.
I went to school three or four years ago. But then some armed men entered the school building and took them over. So the school is closed. I haven’t been to school since.”
Roida’s brother, Abdu:
“When the armed men took over, they started using the school as a place to work and sleep. So the children cannot study.
All day here, we just think about how we can try and make life better. And how we can go back with our rights to live in Myanmar. Once we are fully registered here, I think things will get better.
“Our message to the world, is to ask them for freedom of movement. We want to live our lives in the place where we were born, and our parents before us. We want our rights and our dignity. We want our identity to be recognized. Please give us this.”
Hossein is seven years old. He is from Myanmar. He now lives in Balukhali camp in Bangladesh with his mother and siblings. They share a shelter with another single mother family, with a small partition separating the two families. He collected cooked meals from a CARE distribution for his family.
Hossein’s story in his own words:
“My father was arrested in Myanmar, many months ago. So I am the man of the house now. Even though my brother is bigger, I am the oldest so I take on the duties.
I like to go and get the food for us, I want my mother and brothers and sisters to be happy and healthy. I like the rice. But I make sure the baby eats first.
I have been here for 26 days now. We live close to other women and their families, so we feel safe. At night it is very noisy, but I try not to get scared.
Of all the things I miss from Myanmar, I miss my dad the most.”