World Vision International
article • Wednesday, September 27th 2017

Somsida: Where is my childhood?

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“In my dreams I see people running, crying, shouting and fighting. Then suddenly, I get up in fear,” says 11-year old Somsida, one of the child refugees in Bangladesh who fled violence in Myanmar.

Somsida’s two uncles were killed in the violence that erupted in Rakhine state, Myanmar over a month ago.

Her mother, Rabban, 30 years old, is concerned about the wellbeing of her children, as they are unable to forget the incident from their minds.

"Sometimes, Somsida gets up recalling the incident. Our people were killed and houses were burnt. Luckily, we managed to flee when Somsida’s uncles were killed. But from the place we were hiding, nearby, we saw everything. My children and I were very afraid to return. What if we are next?" says Rabban.

“When we were fleeing, I cried because I heard the sounds of firing, people shouting, crying, and it scared me,” recounts Somsida.

The journey that followed wasn’t easy. The children cried profusely especially Somsida but the family had to keep moving.

"We walked for miles before we reached Bangladesh. Leaving our village behind was very painful, with no food, water and in walking in the rain with a 5-month baby and seven children was an ordeal. Here, I feel safe," says Rabban.

Somsida’s family has taken up a place at the refugee camp with thousands of other refugees, mostly women and children.

Somsida's family arrived safe at the refugee camp

Food is scarce

Somsida is deprived of access to basic nutritious food. “In my house I used to eat rice and fish. I like it. I used to eat different kinds of fish like bowal, pangas, guichcha, faitta. Maitta fish is my most favorite because it has less bones but it tastes delicious. It has been a month since we haven’t eaten rice and fish. We only eat chira (flattenned rice) and gur (sweetener). We eat the same thing everyday.”

Inadequate hygiene and sanitation

Somsida feels unsafe when she has to go to the jungle to defecate. “We get up early and go to the nearby jungle to defecate. It’s a long walk to the jungle. Many girls go there. It is in the open so everyone can see and that makes me feel shy and unsafe. I also fear the snakes and jok (leeches). Some men who pass by throw mud at us to harass and humiliate us. In the jungle where we defecate, it smells so bad and sometimes it sticks on my legs too. It feels uncomfortable.”

Somsida stands between cramped tents at the refugee camp

No play, no school

At the campsite, there is no place to play with other children.

“I wish I could play again like in my village. Here, it’s not possible. There is no playground and no friends whom I can play with. Back in my village I had many friends in my village. I used to play dorilaf, bou chi, marble, pach guti - I miss playing. Now I only roam around the camp,” says Somsida.

She misses going to schooland wishes she could start school again.

“I want to be a teacher in the future. I like to go to school. If the fighting stops, I wish to go back to my village and start school again," she says.


Somsida’s family is one of 1800 refugee families who received World Vision food packs. The food relief kit includes34 Kg rice, 4.5 kg lentils, 2 litres of edible old, half kg salt and one kg sugar for each household. In the first phase World Vision aims to support 3,050 families (15475 refugees) with dry ration relief kits.


Story and Photos by Himaloy Joseph Mree/World Vison Bangladesh Communications Staff




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