Life as a Rohingya refugee with a disability

c_Hossain-Moazzem_HI__Rohingya_with_disabilities_in_Bangladesh.jpg

Earlier this year, 17-year-old Abu Sadeq and 600,000 other Rohingya fled Myanmar in hopes of finding food, shelter, and a safe place to stay. Abu and ten members of his family made it to the Unichipalong camp in Bangladesh, but not without injury. He tells his story:

DonateNow.png

“On August 26, my village in Myanmar was attacked. During the attack, I was hit in the cervical and lumbar vertebrae, causing a spinal cord injury. The injury has weakened my upper and lower limbs and I can’t walk properly anymore. I’ve lost the strength in my muscles, my sense of balance, and my coordination, which makes it much harder to do everyday activities.

After the attack, we fled and took refuge in the forest. After walking for six days, we arrived at the border with Bangladesh and the next day we crossed the river Naf in a boat.

Living conditions in the camp 

I live with ten members of my family–my parents, four brothers, and three sisters–in a temporary shelter in Unichipalong camp in Bangladesh. We survive with help from NGOs and the Bangladeshi government. Various humanitarian organizations have given us clothes, food, and hygiene equipment. 

Hygiene conditions are very poor in the camp because there isn’t much clean water and there’s a lot of overcrowding. But apart from these problems, we’re on good terms with the other refugees and everyone takes care of each other. 

Regaining mobility 

At the beginning of October, Doctors without Borders referred me to HI. They told the team that I needed rehabilitation care. HI’s physical therapist created a rehabilitation program for me and took my measurements for crutches, so I could get around easier. Now, I’m learning to walk with crutches with support from HI's physical therapist.

I’ve just started rehabilitation, but I’ve already seen improvements in the coordination of my limbs and my sense of balance, which makes walking easier. My main problems now are mobility and everyday activities. My home is on a hill, so I still find it difficult to get outside and move around. 

I’d like to spend more time with teenagers my age. I’d also like to walk unaided, and to help my family earn an income.”

ROHINGYA CRISIS IN BANGLADESH

Since August, more than 600,000 Rohingyas have crossed the Myanmar border and taken refuge in Bangladesh. They are exhausted, frightened, and in desperate need of basic aid, psychosocial support, and rehabilitation care. Handicap International has more than 200 staff on the ground, working to support the most vulnerable, including people with disabilities. Support a refugee like Abu by giving a tax-deductible gift today.