Abu Baqar Siddiq is a 5 year old resident of Rohingya Camp, Firozpur Namak in Haryana. He has two siblings Rubina Akbar (7) and Sumiya Akhtar (3) and his father, Abu Taher (26), owned a grocery shop in the camp before a fire on 15th December 2021 tore through the entire Rohingya camp and gutted down 32 out of 34 shelters and his shop as well.
Abu Baqar Siddiq’s friends lovingly call him ‘Abu’. We first met Abu on 16th December 2021 when our team visited the burnt Rohingya camp for relief work. Abu along with his two other friends were salvaging grain from the burnt-up grain storage tanks. His face was blackened with the ash and there was a look of desperation and sadness on his face. We tried playing with him that day; he didn’t open up.
Once while we were distributing chocolates to children of the camp, I handed one out to Abu, he shrugged and said to me in his shrill, lovely voice
Chocolate khaane se daant kharaab ho jaayega” (eating chocolate will cause tooth cavity).
Since that day, we bonded. Everytime I would visit the camp, he would keep on following me and play with me, our all-time favourite being the game of ‘Kancha’ (marbles) which in some way reminds me of my childhood. Abu always turns on top and successfully hits all the targets and takes the marbles of every player as trophies. When not playing ‘Kancha’, one would find him running and singing with his two best friends, Tasleem (5) and her younger sister, Asma (4).
In the coming days, Miles2Smile Foundation amped up the relief work. We provided blankets, utensils and clothes. We setup a community kitchen at the camp and ensured that each of the 106 residents gets proper and timely food daily. In addition to this, the foundation started building 7 units of houses and also the grocery shop of Abu’s father, Abu Taher. We provided 200 bamboos (16 foot) for walls of the shop, 15 bamboos (24 foot) for construction of the frame and 8 sheets of asbestos for roof covering along with two iron doors. We also plan to provide him with grocery items so that he can kick start his business. With this, we plan to create an economic equilibrium which can sustain the requirements of both Abu Taher and the consumers of the camp. Miles2Smile Foundation is glad to have restored the smiles of Abu and his father Abu Taher and we will work relentlessly to restore all the smiles of Rohingya residents and promise that in this time of distress we are with them at every step.