Message to the world from Rashida, a Rohingya
“Bangladeshi people are being very kind, donating clothes and food, but I have not seen any international organisation.”
Rashida, 25, comes from Rakhine State, Myanmar, which she fled nine days ago.
My name is Rashida and I’m 25 years old. Before the Arakan revolution, I lead a very quiet and simple life. We had some paddy fields which we farmed and I had a house where we lived with my husband and our three children. It was peaceful, and we were very happy until the crisis.
We have left all that behind now. Our house and fields have been burned so we can not earn our living there any more.
When the military started shooting in our village, we quickly took my children into the jungle and hid them; they were scared from the dangers in the wild. But, when I went back to check on the house, I saw right in front of my eyes, that many people had been killed.
From the jungle, we walked for eight days until we reached the border. We were very hungry and had nothing to eat except leaves off the trees. The children kept asking for food, but we could not carry anything with us, only my three children.
We crossed the border on a small boat, it felt very dangerous and I thought it was going to sink, so I was clutching my children tightly.
I am not happy to be in Bangladesh, we used to own animals, an acre (0.4 hectares) of paddy field, a house and we had a nice village in our own country. We have left all that behind, so I am sure you can imagine how sad we feel.
I miss our home. We feel hopeless here, I have no idea what our future will be now.
We are not getting enough support here. The Bangladeshi people are being very kind and are donating clothes and food, but I have not seen any international organisation. I wish they would help us, too – we need food to eat.
My message to the outside world is that we want peace, we have no future without peace.
*As told to Katie Arnold in Kutupalong new shelter camp near Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.
*This interview has been edited for clarity.
Read this related article to learn more about how the UN has been overwhelmed by the Rohingya refugee crisis: “We lack the resources”
The plight of Myanmar’s Rohingya
An estimated more than 270,000, mainly women and children, have fled to Bangladesh in the last two weeks as a result of indiscriminate violence against civilian populations carried out by the Myanmar army.
The UN and other human rights organisations have warned that the mass exodus following killings, rapes, and burned villages are signs of “ethnic cleansing“, pleading for the international community to pressure Aung San Suu Kyi and her government to end the violence.
“The situation seems a textbook example of ethnic cleansing,” UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said on Monday, September 11.