"All we ask is for freedom of movement"

 Bangladesh, Myanmar
 Emergency Response
 10th Oct 2017

Roida is ten years old. She is from a village in Myanmar. With her family, Roida fled violence in Myanmar and arrived in Bangladesh as a refugee on 9 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, they also share the tent. She 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. So 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 four days to get here. It was very tough. We had to go without food and we just slept on the roadside.

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. Maybe we have to wait for 20 minutes, even if it isn't a long queue, we still wait for about 10 minutes.

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.

Roida, 10-years-old, with food package

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 are prohibited from studying.

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 recognised. Please give us this.”

For more on our work in Bangladesh, click here

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