The Mother

6 Jun 2018
Related Countries
Myanmar (Burma)
During the period of Ramadan, we will be running a four-part series to highlight the human face of the Rohingya refugee crisis.
Listen and read Part 3 below.

Part 3: The Mother

Um Kalsoum is a survivor. She and her family were at home when the village was overrun.

"There was a helicopter hovering, she says, pointing to the sky, imitating the sound of rotors."

She remembers screaming, the sound of her voice drowning out the din of of the helicopter blades and gunfire. Two of her children were shot and killed; her home was burnt to the ground; she was beaten and robbed.

"They told us to leave. ‘This is not your country.’ they told me."

Her priority was clear: to keep her only remaining child safe, no matter the cost.

At 18 months, Abdul Hafiz is just a baby, but he has already endured enough for a lifetime. Since arriving at an overcrowded, dirty refugee camp in Bangladesh, Abdul Hafiz has faced continued sickness and ill health. Every day his mother takes him to the MSF clinic in the camp, desperate to find a cure for his near-constant diarrhoea and fever.

He needs clean water and sanitation, he needs ongoing medical attention. In his mother’s arms, he dozes peacefully, wrapped in a red and green blanket. As cosy as he may appear, the blanket is a poor substitute for diapers and baby clothes.

In Bangladesh, Doctors Without Borders is providing clean water for the refugee population. We do this by drilling boreholes deep enough to ensure the water isn’t contaminated by latrines or other potentially hazardous waste. Providing clean water is essential and it is urgent.

At 23, Um Kalsoum has already suffered what no parent should. Doctors Without Borders will continue to provide clean water and care for her son, and others like him, but we can’t do it without people like you.

Here's what you can do:

Donate now >

This event is licensed by Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department (License #: 1064).