Dilaara, eighteen, is gifted with the skill of knitting crochet that she effortlessly picked up from a neighbour in Myanmar. Today her passion for the skill is helping her cope with uncertainties. Her mother died at a young age and father passed away three-years ago. She is living with her elder brother and sister-in-law in Balukhali, Cox’s Bazar. Dilaara is associated with an NGO and teaches young adolescent girls to knit topi (cap), lace, used as embellishment on dress and embroidery work. Teaching also provides her some money. “I am very happy to teach the girls. I spend my time constructively and enjoy their company. It helps me to forget all my worries and keeps me busy. I want to continue with it in future.”, says Dilaara.
About the personal project
After every visit, I often ask myself how long will it take to heal and rebuild hope. It’s been a year now to the Rohingya Refugee Crisis.
In this protracted humanitarian crisis, adolescent Rohingya girls are one of the greatest victims. Most of them have witnessed unimaginable violence, death, destruction and hunger and are currently trying to survive in these over packed, poorly structured camps, facing issues like malnutrition, trauma, unsanitary living conditions, restricted movements, and potential disease outbreak.
Adolescent girls have become more vulnerable to child marriage, trafficking, domestic violence, sexual abuse and deep-rooted gender bias. Most girls never or rarely leave their bamboo huts.They spend almost every hour of every day inside their sweltering huts cooking, cleaning or attending to children. A rare few have stepped out to support their families. Most families still don’t have enough to eat.
Inspite of the difficulties they face, the adolescent girls demonstrate unwavering resilience, courage and care that their communities need in this long drawn crisis. It is pertinent that their vulnerabilities, voices, concerns, isolation, fear, homelessness and aspirations are heard. They long to go to school, feel secure, make new friends, heal, go home, and rebuild their lives.