How my life has changed since COVID-19 has arrived in Cox Bazaar, Banglade​sh​

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​​​25 May 2020​


The struggling life of a Rohingya refuge​e family

The case stud​y of a Rohingya refugee women, camp 4, Kutupalong, Cox Bazaar, Bangladesh 

She​ got married at the age of 14 years. After two years of her marriage, she became the mother of a boy child. She was leading a happy life. Like other Rohingya families, she along with her family had to move to Bangladesh. She had to walk, holding her one-year old child for days after days. After a long journey she has reached camp 4, Kutupalong. They received support for shelter, food and other assistance. From the beginning, her mother in law was with their family. Her husband sometimes could find work for a day. She became stable and coped with the changing environment. She was happy. Earlier she did not have any work other than cooking and playing with her child. At the end of 2019, she got training and inputs for vegetable gardening. She started growing vegetables around her shelter. She started spending time in the garden. Her own garden. It was very good production. She grew a huge number of bottle gourds. After meeting the family needs, they gave some vegetables to the neighbors. Her husband sold 49 bottle gourds to the camp market and earned BDT 2,000 (CHF 24). Two months back they got an e-voucher from WFP. This helps them to buy different food from the WFP shops that they need.

Last month, she heard that there was a virus attack. Corona virus. She does not know about the virus. But the camp management announced for all to stay at their home. Her husband does not have any work anymore. They even can't go to mosque for prayer. Recently, her aunty joined with her family. The total camp gone stuck. They now have finished their food ration. They can't go out for earning. It's still six days to receive the next ration. There was no food in morning and neither at noon. Her five years old child was crying. They borrowed BDT 200 (CHF 2.5) from a relative, within the camp. Her husband brought some rice, lentil and potatoes with BDT 200. This was food for 6 members of the family for two days. Again they are out of food. No one there to give them food. Still four days to go for next ration. Her son got a silver ring as gift from her relative, when they were in Myanmar. She sold this ring at BDT 1350 (CHF 16). They purchased some food. There are eight chili plants and five eggplant still fruiting in her garden. She gives water to these plants regularly. She does not have seeds for the coming season. She looks forward to have a better life. A hunger free life.

Recorded by HELVETAS Cox Bazaar field staff

Read also: 

COVID-19 and PROTECTION in a protracted refuge​e crisis​