This past week has been an emotional roller-coaster but one that I am so grateful to be on. It’s been busy, overwhelming, heartbreaking, sweaty, exhausting, encouraging and fun. I’m currently in Bangladesh leading the Community Health Workers training program for Rohingya refugees living in the nearby camps. The majority of the students are under 18 year olds and have spent their entire life in camps or running from violence and persecution. Bangladesh government has now made it illegal for children to obtain any formal education. It is extremely difficult for anyone to leave the camps. Most of the students have never even been to Cox’s Bazar, which is a close by city due to fear of being caught. These students had to risk so much to come get this training. They had to sneak out of the camps, go through police check points and risk the chance of getting caught and punished. But to them, all that risk, is completely worth it just to get any little education they can! Does that not make you appreciate our education system in a whole new way? The students aren’t leaving the hotel room we are staying in and I am not allowed to post any details or pictures on social media to minimize the chance of them getting caught. When the students showed up the first day of class they were all very timid, unsure and quiet. They seemed very suspicious of us girls trying to make them play games. It is incredible to see how much they have opened up these past few days.
They are now laughing, and engaged and learning and asking question and LOVING all the weird games us crazy girls are making them play. We even had an impromptu karaoke party today. It’s such a beautiful thing to see these students have the freedom to just be kids. I’m tearing up writing this right now. How they are living is not how God intended it to be. It is not okay. They shouldn’t’ have to live each day wondering if they will have enough food to eat, or be kicked out of their home, or get in trouble by the police for no reason at all.
They are not wanted in Bangladesh and they cannot return to Myanmar. They are stuck. With very little hope.
They are not wanted in Bangladesh and they cannot return to Myanmar. They are stuck. With very little hope. I know what we are doing here will not solve all of their problems, it’s pretty insignificant in the grand scheme of things but my hope is that I can at least give these children a week of freedom from the fear they are living in, make sure they know they are loved and important and not forgotten.
It has been so fun empowering the students with education around health care. They are all so keen to learn and are so excited to go back to their camps and teach their community what they have learned. We have gone over topics such as: why clean water is important, ways to sanitize water, when to wash your hands, HOW to wash your hands, the importance of good nutrition plus many other topics. This may all seem very basic and common sense to us but this is the very first time they are being taught about any of it! And this is what will save lives. Equipping these very intelligent, capable, loving and keen students to make a lasting difference in their community has been such an incredible experience and I feel so honoured to be a part of it.