Born as a refugee

Born as a refugee

Publication info

Nusrat Daud Pritha

Anwar Begum walks through the muddy alleys of the refugee camp while juggling her 2-month-old and an umbrella. Her 4-year-old son Jaber follows close behind. It rained all morning and now, partly soaked, the family is finding its way back to the small, makeshift shelter of bamboo and tarp it calls home in the world’s largest refugee settlement at Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh. They are returning from one of the camp’s two nutrition centers with supplies.  

Like hundreds of thousands of other refugees from Myanmar over the last year, Anwar and her family fled violence in Myanmar for the relative safety of Bangladesh.  

“We couldn’t move freely, we had difficulty even going to the market for basic supplies,” says Anwar’s husband Elias. “Life is not easy here, but at least we have peace. We are able to move freely, go to other camps, find medicines and treatments easily.”  

People often had very limited access to health services in Myanmar’s Northern Rakhine state, and most of the infants and children who made the difficult journey to Bangladesh suffered from severe malnutrition.  

In the months leading up to her daughter’s birth, Anwar took advantage of expectant mother meetings at the camps as well as a local midwife for a safe and healthy delivery at their temporary shelter. Anwar’s trips through muddy alleys to the nutrition center are critical in keeping the family healthy. She doesn’t like the taste of the nutrition mix, but, as a lactating mother, she takes it regularly for Ajida,  a spirited little one, full of life and curiosity.  

Ajida, a spirited two-month-old, was born in a refugee camp for Myanmar refugees in Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh. Photo Credit: Asafuzzaman Captain/CARE