In August of 2012, when military and paramilitary forces in Myanmar began purging the Rohingya Muslim population from the country, motivated by anti-Muslim prejudice of the Buddhist political and social majority, 45-year-old Sajeeda Begum had to flee to neighbouring India. However, the non-recognition of refugee status of the Rohingyas in India kept her without documents which meant – without adequate protection and access to healthcare services, education or any employment opportunity.
Her husband divorced and left her a few years ago, adding to the stress of living in such conditions. She even felt suicidal at times. Her severe physical and mental health issues were exacerbated by the impermanence of the fragile bamboo structure and the unsanitary conditions in which she was living.
The flimsy shelter located in muddy pathways with puddles of stagnant water around has made living conditions unbearable for the women in particular.
Rohingya women are particularly vulnerable due to a lack of proper nutritious food, menstrual health, and hygiene inside the camp. The prolonged camp life has had a significant impact on their mental and physical health. Furthermore, as a result of inadequate reproductive and maternal care, women are vulnerable to communicable diseases and infectious risks such as scabies and hepatitis.
Sajeeda too suffered from similar health problems, including high blood sugar & blood pressure. Since the day her husband left, Sajeeda Begam’s day to day existence has been marked by fear, struggles to afford food, and a sense of hopelessness in her. She is a single mother with three children – two daughters and a son, who rely on humanitarian assistance.
As her days passed in worry, she visited Miles2Smile’s medical camp and received consultation from our doctors for her illness, which required immediate medical treatment. The foundation stepped in right away to help her with additional treatments that would otherwise be thwarted by the hospital’s high medical bills. We are delighted to assist Sajeeda, who believes that once her children succeed and prosper in life, all of her mental and physical sufferings will fade away.