Finding friendship in the face of a crisis

August 27, 2018

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Nearly a million Rohingyas have fled to Bangladesh to escape violence in Myanmar. More than half of them are women and children- most of whom suffered unimaginable trauma. They have witnessed parents, siblings and neighbours being tortured and killed. Many have suffered sexual abuse.

More than 41,000 children are singing, learning and playing in our 234 child-friendly spaces and 365 learning centres in the camps and in Ukhiya and Teknaf. These spaces are safe, colourful places for children to be children. Our para-counsellors provide them with psychosocial support to help them deal with trauma.

Mohammad Ayaas, 12 years
Cox’s Bazar

I came from Myanmar on a boat full of strangers. No one held my hand and no one told me what to do. My father and mother were killed. I got separated from my sisters and brothers. I have not heard from them since I reached Bangladesh. At first I did not know what to do or even what had happened. I still do not understand. I don’t have my parents but I do have Rafiq majhi. He is the one who takes care of me. He is my father now. I also have a new mother. They love me like my parents used to.

I think about my parents a lot. I don’t have any pictures of them but I remember their faces. I also have my friend – Nabi. He is like my brother.

Ayas and Nabi

I love coming to the child-friendly space. I play football with Nabi. We also love playing carom. Nabi is really good to me. I taught him how to play. We share everything together. Sometimes, we get biscuits and share them with each other. I do not want to stay here forever though. I want to go to Saudi Arabia and build big, tall buildings – so I am learning English and math.

Before coming to Bangladesh, I had never thought about Saudi Arabia. After I came here I heard people talk about how good life can be when one works there and began thinking about it.


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