Through the eyes of Rohingya
The recent Rohingya crisis have deeply moved me and I’m upset by the way entire thing is happening. This complete Rohingya topic is an age-old crisis. For years, we are seeing the news of persecution and have seen pictures and videos of the victimized all over the social media. But everything changed this year in August.
We cannot deny the atrocities, we cannot reject the claim of ethnic cleansing that took place on the Rohingya communities throughout the month. Small children were killed and thrown to fire, women and girls were raped as well as murdered and last but not the least, most of the young males of the community were slaughtered and then killed in front the entire family.
The international media and INGOs took a strong stand for the first time on this issue. We saw reports on channels like BBC, Reuters, CNN and news pieces on New York Times, Guardian and so on. The issue went to the security council meeting of the United Nation too. Our prime minister took a solid outlook on this issue and invited the international community to come forward and extend their helping hand for the Rohingya Refugees who took shelter at Bangladesh.
Being a small part and citizen of our country Bangladesh, I am very proud of the way people turned towards them — with whatever they could. A big applause also goes for the continuous support and help from both the government and the law enforcing agencies.
I spent days on thinking about ways I can help the community. I have communicated with my family members, teachers and friends and finally decided that if I want to do something for the refugees — first I need to visit the camps myself.
Most of the camps that we have in Bangladesh are situated at Tekhnaf Ukhiya, which is the South-Western part of Bangladesh, situated inside Cox’s Bazar. Most of the people, first they cross the Naaf River of Myanmar through small boats and come to Tekhnaf-Bangladesh border.
In order to get into a boat, the Rohingya people had to sell their everything, they even exchanged their last livestock. You cannot truly understand how horrifying the situation is until or unless you see the entire scenario with your own eyes.
Imagine a family of a single mother with five little children in between the age of six months to eight years — how troublesome it was for her to complete the entire journey.
They had to walk for days through thick mud and water clogged swamps with these children. Neither they could eat for days nor drink water. Still around 700,000 refugees made it to Bangladesh in a short span of 20 days.
As human being I found them to be very humble and polite in nature. The children are very playful and well mannered. I was expecting that they would run and circle around people for donations, but I was surprised by their calm nature among the majority of them.
Some of us tried to interview them and take their testimony about what happened with them at the Rakhaine State. I was astounded the way they were describing the stories. I was supposing they would be crying or become too emotional while telling their stories, but the reality was quite different.
They have seen so much of killing and burning with their own eyes that it was very ordinary for them to describe the story of how they saw the army killing their father, or burning their houses. It was very customary for them.
When we asked them if they are getting enough food from the aid agencies or not. Most of them said, they were having trouble in managing food even twice a day. Still they are always smiling and talking to everyone, it seems like they are alive and that is the biggest gift they got in their entire lifetime.
Among the problems they are facing, properly arranging adequate food supply is the most difficult part. They are now fully relying on the relief that individual people and national as well as international agencies are providing to the refugees.
They don’t have any cash with them with which they can buy foods, neither they can work. So, most of the day they roam around street to street in the search of relief trucks and lines in the hope of getting one bag of food for their family.
Then they are having problems in collecting water from a good source. Most of the camps are now built over a hill or in an area which is very densely populated. Installing a water pump or a tube well takes times and needs to be done in a very strategic place.
Since these makeshift camps are temporary facilities for the refugees, so establishing something sustainable and long lasting won’t be feasible.
Similarly, they need medicine, doctors, clothes and nutritional supplements in order to survive in the coming days.
I hope you are also thinking of ways you can help these Rohingya refugees with whatever support you can manage for them.
I’m planning to collect cash money and provide water tube wells, dry foods, milk for the children, necessary medicines for around 10,000 families.
Please join and help me to coordinate this noble initiative successfully. If you and your firm agrees to extend your hand, then I’m very hopeful that we can touch the live of thousands of people with good quality foods, water and other necessities — even for a month.