Rohingya Refugees In India
$10 For A Matress To Keep Families Off Of The Gound
The ongoing plight of more than 670,000 Rohingya refugees who fled targeted violence and serious human rights violations in Myanmar for Bangladesh has captured global headlines. Often, people walked for days through the forest to reach safety, including pregnant women, young children, the sick and the elderly.
But even before this most recent crisis began in August last year, hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees had fled previous bouts of violence in Myanmar dating back to the 1970s. Many are now scattered in countries across South and South-East Asia.
India hosts 17,500 Rohingya refugees and asylum-seekers registered with UNHCR. While UNHCR assistance programmes provide basic support, many among them are poor, work in low paid jobs and live in crowded settlements with limited access to essential services such as safe shelter, water, electricity and toilets.
“It is important for refugees to feel included in societies hosting them,” says Yasuko Shimizu, Chief of Mission at UNHCR India. “We are impressed by the overwhelming support from the Indian community. India and her people once again demonstrated their extraordinary hospitality to refugees during this emergency.”
The help that the community received after the blaze particularly touched day labourer Amir, 33, who has used an e-rickshaw donated by an Indian NGO to earn a modest living ferrying passengers and goods around the settlement.
“People from all religions and backgrounds came together to help us,” he says. “I have not experienced this kind of love and acceptance in a long time.”
Photo Credit: Roger Arnold