Jannatul, a Survivor of Conflict
Jannatul, a 5-year-old Rohingya girl, lives in a refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Two years ago, she was living in Rakhine State, Myanmar, with her family. Her parents had a garden and cattle, and the family led a good life. But that summer, everything changed overnight.
In late August 2017, conflict erupted in Rakhine, turning many Rohingya villages into battlefields. As Salima, Jannatul’s mother, recalls, “Our homes were set on fire and burned to the ground. People were running everywhere.” Jannatul and her mother survived, only to find out that her father was shot and her two siblings were stabbed to death. That night, the two began running for their survival to Bangladesh, following thousands of fellow villagers.
It was a strenuous journey, but eventually they made it to the camp. “We walked for a week in the rain, and for three days we didn’t eat,” says Salima. “Jannatul was about to die when another family shared some food with us.” They also saw many people dead along the way.
Sited on hilly terrain with limited space, the camp is in poor condition and liable to disasters like monsoons and landslides, which puts the lives of over 900,000 refugees at great risk.
World Vision is currently assisting Salima and other families in need by providing access to clean water and supplementary food, as well as materials such as concrete and bamboos for refugees to reinforce their homes against monsoons. Jannatul also enjoys attending World Vision’s Child Friendly Space where she can play and learn with other refugee children and support one another. Please continue to help these refugees as they rebuild their livelihoods and recover from the painful and traumatic experiences.
Jannatul (middle on phone screen) lost both of her siblings overnight. This photo of the trio on her mother’s phone is now the only surviving memory of them.
Though still a young child, Jannatul has to help her mother fetch water and perform other household chores in the refugee camp.
Jannatul regularly attends World Vision’s Child Friendly Space. Her favourite activities include drawing and reading picture books.
When younger, Sara used to live in a spacious house with her family and led a life of harmony. Her father enjoyed playing with the children. However, as conflict broke out in 2011, Sara’s life was turned around in an instant. She was only ten. “Before the war started, nothing worried me. Everything was okay.”
Sara recalls how militants stormed into her community one day to loot and kill. In the night, the noises of bombing and shooting would wake her up. The militants even tried to break into her house, which made her very worried about her family’s safety. Sadly, her beloved father was consequently kidnapped. “They ran over him and then they shot him and then burned him,” says Sara. Missing her father deeply, she adds, “I wanted to see him. I wanted to kill myself.”
Fearing for their safety as the conflict intensified, the family followed Sara’s mother and fled by night. Sara was only able to pack some clothes, a family album and a watch given by her father. She was always holding the album and the watch to reminisce the good times they had. “I just want my father to come back.”
Upon reaching the temporary settlements in Lebanon, Sara and her family could only cram into a tiny and stuffy tent with a few other families. The infrastructure in this community is poor, but Sara still feels that life is better here than in Syria. At least, she no longer has to worry about bombings. She is working hard on her studies and hopes to become a judge in the future.
World Vision is actively assisting Syrian refugees in Lebanon, helping children like Sara overcome their traumatic experiences of war. Through Child Friendly Spaces and other forms of education assistance, displaced children are able to continue their education and see their hopes restored.
Before the conflict, Sara was living a carefree life, a stark contrast to her current life in the temporary settlements.
Apart from overcoming the pain of losing her father, Sara also bears the responsibility of taking care of her younger brother.
Sara packed a photo album when she fled, and would look at the photos when she misses her father.
Provide 5 refugee families with seeds in a year, so as to help open up livelihood opportunities, and ensure them a stable supply of food and income.
Provide 4 conflict-affected children early childhood education in a year, equipping them with the necessary knowledge to catch up on their studies when formal schooling is available.
Provide 10 conflict-affected children Child Friendly Spaces in a year, that they can play, learn and receive psychosocial support, and be protected from child labour and human trafficking.
Since last century, World Vision has been responding to the world’s most urgent disasters and humanitarian crises, by delivering timely aids to conflicted and vulnerable areas. The goal of World Vision is to be “first in” and “last out”—seeing families and communities through hardship to restoration.
As soon as conflict erupts, the displaced lack basic necessities such as food, clean water and shelter, and live in constant hunger, illness and fear. You can help them regain the capacity to thrive.
In areas affected by conflict, infrastructure is often destroyed or inadequate. Families are unable to make ends meet, meaning that children live with limited assurance. You can help them rebuild livelihoods.
During conflicts or crises, children are traumatised by the inevitable separation from, or the loss of, their loved ones, and left to live in despair. You can help them restore hope.