Tasmin said “In Myanmar we were a happy family and we were not struggling with poverty. My children were in school and would play with their friends. There was land to grow crops on and domestic animals. My days would be filled with household chores and farming duties. On the 25th of August, 2017, the Myanmar army burned down our villages and everything else we owned. We had no choice but to flee. Around mid- September, we arrived in Bangladesh with empty pockets and just the clothes on our back. The Bangladesh army provided us shelter in Camp 14”. Initially at the camp, life was hard for my family and I. There was a shortage of tube wells, latrines, and proper roads. We had no idea where, what services were needed and available.
But gradually site management and others team members and volunteers started visiting Tasmin and the other families in her vicinity to disseminate information on various issues like, disaster preparedness, hand washing, landslides, hygiene management etc. This year, in the month of March, Tasmin learnt about the coronavirus and how infectious it is and how proper treatment for it is yet to be found. As time passes, her worries increase, especially for her children, since they live in a cramped house where it is difficult to maintain the rules and guidelines provided by WASH. Since Tasmin didn’t feel safe given the state that they were living in, she started attending COVID-19 sessions that were being held. The preventive measures that she learnt through the sessions, she came home and passed that knowledge onto her husband and children. She taught her family the right way to wash hands and maintain social distancing when going outside the house. She even took it on herself to spread awareness about the virus amongst her neighbors and teach them the importance of wearing masks, washing hands and social distancing. Recently the WASH team and site management provided a hand-wash machine and masks, respectively. Tasmin is considered to be integral within her block when it comes to disseminating information regarding COVID-19.
Tasmin said, “My family and I are grateful that Bangladesh opened its doors to us and ensured life’s basic amenities for our safety”. She is indebted to the Bangladesh Government and other agencies for providing them with all the services required to live a full life.
Story and Photo collect by Sonzutta Day Rumi
Written by Laizu Begum
Technical coordinator (CwC)
Camp-14, CARE Bangladesh