World Vision Bangladesh
article • Wednesday, October 4th 2017

Where is my Childhood?

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At the campsite there is no place to play and enjoy the perks of childhood. Somsida (11) wishes to play again like in her village. She misses going to school and wishes she could start school again.

“In my dreams I see people running, crying, shouting and fighting and suddenly I get up in fear,” says 11-year old Somsida, currently living in a refugee camp with her family.

Somsida’s two uncles (father’s brothers) were killed in the violence that erupted in Rakhine state, Myanmar.

Her mother 30-year- Rabban is concerned for the wellbeing of her children, as they are unable to
forget the incident and erase it from their minds.

"Sometimes at night Somsida gets up recalling the incident. Our people were killed and house after house burnt. We managed to flee when Somsida’s uncles were killed. But from the place we were hiding, nearby, we saw everything. My children and I were very afraid to return. What if we are next?," says Somsida’s mother, Rabban.

“When we were fleeing, I cried because I heard the sounds of firing, people shouting and crying which scared me,” says Somsida.

The journey that followed wasn’t easy. The children cried profusely especially Somsida as she was afraid of what she had experienced. But the family couldn’t stop they had to move on.

"We walked for miles, before we reached Bangladesh. Leaving our village behind was very painful, with no food, water and in walking in the rain with a 5-month baby and seven children was an ordeal. But now I feel safe and I know we will not be killed here," says Rabban.

Photo : Somsida with her family who fled the violence that erupted in the Rakhine state of Myanmar

 

After Arrival At the refugee camp | What Lies Ahead

If Only nutritious food was available
Somsida is deprived of access to basic nutritious food. “In my house I used to eat rice and fish. I like it. I used to eat different kinds of fish like Bowal, Pangas, Guichcha, Maitta. Among them the most favourite is Maitta fish, because it has less bones but it tastes delicious. It has been a month since I have eaten rice and fish. We can only afford to eat Chira (Flatten rice) and Gur. We eat the same thing everyday.”

Fear to go for open defecation
Somsida feels unsafe when she has to go to the jungle to defecate. “We get up early and go to the nearby jungle to defecate. It’s a long walk to the jungle. Like me, many girl children go there. It is in the open so everyone can see and that makes me feel shy. I also fear the snakes and Jok (leeches). Some men who pass by throw mud at us to harass and humiliate us. In the jungle where we defecate it smells bad there and sometimes it sticks on my legs too. It feels uncomfortable.”

 

 No friends, no play and No School
At the campsite there is no place to play and enjoy the perks of childhood.

“I wish I could play again like in my village, but I cannot. There is no playground and no friends whom I can play with. Back in my village I had many friends in my village. There I would play Dorilaf, Bou chi, Marble, Pach Guti. I miss all the games here. Now I just roam around in the camp,” says Somsida.

She misses going to schooland wishes she could start school again.

“I want to be a teacher in the future. I like to go to school. If the fighting stops, I wish to go to my village
and start school again and attend classes," she says.

 

World Vision Intervention:
As part of World Vision’s Myanmar-Bangladesh Relief Response, Somsida’s family is one of 1800 refugee families provided with food relief kit through the food programming intervention. The food relief kit includes 34 Kg rice, 4.5 kg lentils, 2 litres of edible old, half kg salt and one kg sugar for each household. In the first phase World Vision aims to support 3,050 families (15475 people) with dry ration relief kits.

 

Story and Photo  : Himaloy Joseph Mree 

Edited by: Anilla Harris

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