Syeda is a remarkable 35-year-old Rohingya mother who lives in Shamlapur Settlement, a refugee camp about 50kms from Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.
Our ShelterBox teams met Syeda while working to provide shelter and supplies to newly arriving Rohingya families in Cox’s Bazar. We were immediately inspired by her story.
Syeda is a single parent to four children after her husband tragically died seven years ago. A year after losing her husband, there was a mass killing of the Rohingya people in her Myanmar village.
Syeda knew she had to leave for her family’s safety:
During that time, many people, especially women, were being tortured, raped and even killed, so that’s why we left and came to Bangladesh.’
Syeda walked for three days with her four children, eventually crossing the border into Bangladesh by boat.
The family were welcomed into a host community and Syeda began working the fields and earning a living for her family.
Now, six years later, Syeda is working for an international aid agency helping other Rohingya people.
Every day I come to the camp and help people with their cleanliness and hygiene, if there are any pregnant women, I tell them to go for a check-up and take care of themselves.’
We asked Syeda to tell us a positive story about some of the people she has helped, she was extremely shy to talk about this, saying very little.
Then a Rohingya man called Dil stepped in and praised her, saying:
‘Every day she gets up very early in the morning and walks around the camp speaking to people about their dirt.
Especially young children when they are defecating outside, she tries to tell the family to clean it up, telling them more than once to clean it.
If they do not clean it, she will clean it by herself. She is teaching them about hygiene.’