10-year-old Harisa describes how she and her family escaped from their home in Myanmar and crossed the border into Bangladesh. She is one of almost a million Rohingyas living in the makeshift settlements in Cox's Bazar- all of whom experienced similar trauma.
“After losing my husband and four children, surviving alone with my youngest child has been so difficult for me that it makes me wish that we had died together. The trauma of EVD (Ebola virus disease) will forever live within me,” says Jeanet Wee, an Ebola survivor.
“I had never seen such a large-scale calamity before," said Puja Gloria Rodrigues, psychosocial counsellor from BRAC University’s Institute of Educational Development (IED). Three days after the Rana Plaza collapse, she arrived at the National Institute of Traumatology and Orthopaedics Rehabilitation (NITOR) in Dhaka along with a group of counsellors.
Kabir Mollah was pulled out from under the remains of Rana Plaza four days after the collapse. Now every time he goes into a high-rise building, he gets anxious. Shiuli Khanom was also rescued after four days. “Even though I survived, I felt hopeless,” she says. “I couldn’t sleep. I had so many thoughts and worries. I was shaken and afraid and also physically weak.”
Whether it is the globally mourned celebrity deaths like that of Robin Williams’, or the shocking Rana Plaza tragedy occurring close to heart, recent news at both home and abroad have sparked global conversations on the importance of prioritising mental health at multiple forefronts. BRAC, a global leader in tackling poverty through social development, has been quick to jump in on the bandwagon.