By Gennike Mayers, IFRC
Javeir, 20, was studying to become a medical doctor. His grandfather is a pharmacist and his grandmother, a midwife, so the desire to practice medicine runs in the family. On 25 August 2017, life changed dramatically for Javeir, his eight siblings, their parents and grandparents when they were forced to flee their home in Rakhine.
After an eight-day long journey through the forested hills and across the Naf river, Javeir and his family arrived at the south-eastern Bangladeshi village of Teknaf. From there they boarded a truck which took them to the transit camp in Kutupalong.
“We stayed in the transit camp for three days but then my father and I came here to find a new place to live. We have been here for 10 months. First, we built a temporary hut then we got help to build a more permanent house,” explains Javeir.
The current house is a basic plastic and bamboo structure which stands on a hardened mud foundation decked with a thatched roof and reinforced by tarpaulin. “When the sun is shining it is very hot inside. When it rains it is cooler but it’s difficult to move around outside. When it rains heavily, water comes inside, and my sisters have to get buckets to take water outside.”
Initially Javeir sought work as a medical assistant with the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society’s medical clinic as he wanted to put his studies to good use. Eventually he was recruited instead as a psychosocial support volunteer.
“I enjoy my job and I’m good at it,” says Javeir, “I like to play with children. We sing, we laugh, and we draw too. It helps us forget about the hard life in the camp. I like to follow up on the psychosocial support cases whenever I find them. I like to support them. But my main purpose in life is to be a doctor after I finish my studies.”
Javeir completed his first year of medical studies and needs three more to qualify as a doctor. Does he think he will ever go home and complete his studies? He responds, “If Allah wants.”
“What do you want?” I ask. “I want to go home. I want to be a doctor.”
With support from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and partners, the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society has provided tarpaulins and ropes to over 49,000 households and has reached over 113,000 people with psychosocial support activities since the start of the population movement in August 2017.