Rahama is 14 years old now and being the oldest amongst five siblings, she has a lot of household responsibilities now. Instead of going out to school or outside for work, she mostly stays in and takes care of her siblings. Her life changed drastically since she started menstruating. Her parents have put limitations on her movement since; not letting her go to school or the Shantikhana (Women and Girls’ Safe Space).
But, Rahama is still the strong willed and motivated girl that she was two years back when we spoke to her. Growing up, circumstances have changed for her, but she remembers some of the key lessons from her visits to Shantikhana. It a common trend for young Rohingya girls to be married at an early stage, but knowing the risks associated with child marriage, she is determined to not get married before she is 18.
Staying home with siblings all day, becomes quite challenging. It is also very disheartening for her to see her brothers going to school, and she herself being unable to do the same. Nonetheless, Rahama manages to find a way to her happiness, under such restrictions. She loves making paper crafts. When she gets time after tending to her chores and her siblings, she spends her free time making paper crafts and decorations. This makes her very happy.
Growing up has been difficult for Rahama given that she lives in a refugee camp where safety is a major concern for adolescent girls. She still clings to her dreams of becoming a teacher. She continues to draw, make paper crafts and hopes that she will again be able to join school and realize her dream of becoming a teacher.