Photos by: Brad Zerivitz (American Red Cross) and Ibrahim Mollik and Elodie Berthe (IFRC)
It’s easy to forget the people you don’t see in the media, and this includes over a million people still living in camps in Bangladesh after fleeing violence in the state of Rakhine, Myanmar. Behind these faces are stories waiting to be told and people we can’t forget.
This is Sadyra, who is great with tools and is a natural woodworker and handyman. When met in front of his shelter, he explained that he wants to build a bigger house for his family. He made this chair he is sitting on.
This is Alma, who spent 8 days crossing the border into Cox’s Bazar with her eight-year-old daughter. Before the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society installed a water pipe right at her doorstep, Alma had to walk for thirty minutes to a water source that was contaminated and made people ill. Now with the water tap, Alma and many other people living in the camps no longer have to worry about getting safe, clean water. To date, the Red Crescent has distributed nearly 79 million liters of safe drinking water around the camps.
Moulari Abul Alam lives in this house with ten of his family members, in an area susceptible to rain, strong winds, landslides and flooding. In preparation for the cyclone season, Moulari used ropes and sandbags distributed by the Red Crescent to secure the roof. Moulari understands that evacuation during storms isn’t always possible, so the next best thing is to fortify the house.
Amid the sea of displaced people in these camps are also the teams of community volunteers who, despite being displaced themselves, continue to work tirelessly to support people in need. Dedicated spaces, like the one managed by this volunteer, are an important, safe means of bringing people of different age groups together to share, learn and connect with one another.
Shafiullah is the father of five sons and three girls. Life in the camp is difficult and frustrating, especially for his growing children. After attending group meetings with Bangladesh Red Crescent volunteers, he learned to be a better listener and now has a good relationship with his children.