Last fall I received confirmation for a media assignment in Myanmar. By then, the first wave of Rohingya refugees fleeing persecution from Myanmar’s military had arrived in southeast Bangladesh creating the latest humanitarian crisis in the region.
Previous journeys to Myanmar as a digital storyteller had made me painfully aware of the plight of people groups in that region who are disenfranchised and in constant fear due to discrimination, religious persecution, and geo-political schemes — abuse of power maneuvers that seek to rob people of dignity, safety, and life itself.
The Rohingya, who have now fled their homes in Myanmar’s Rakhine State into Bangladesh, have been described as the world’s most persecuted minority. U.S. and global media have reported on this significant humanitarian crisis, but interest in the plight of the long-suffering Rohingya people is lukewarm at best.
As I planned for my assignment in Myanmar, I began to dream about the possibility of travel to the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh as an act of solidarity and presence. I also wished to raise further awareness of this crisis by donating my time and expertise as a media producer so that aid organizations could continue to fundraise, promote ongoing needs, and inspire additional volunteers.
I began to share my dream with media colleagues and U.S.-based NGOs in an effort to grow connections in Bangladesh. In a matter of weeks, I connected with aid organizations working in the camps and was also pleased that a few additional friends and colleagues were interested in joining me on the journey to Bangladesh. Soon I would be walking beside courageous responders and host communities who seek to make life more bearable for the Rohingya.
In mid-November 2017, I traveled to Bangladesh where I met committed aid workers from Christian Aid (CAID) Bangladesh and The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Generous staff at these two agencies made it possible for us to witness the situation in the camps, do some needs assessment, and gather media. I am greatly encouraged by the important work these two organizations carry out on behalf of the Rohingya refugees.
This photo essay provides a glimpse of my experience in the Rohingya refugee camps. These and hundreds of other photos and video footage clips have been donated to Christian Aid (CAID) and their partners to use for additional awareness-building campaigns and fundraising.
I also hope to share my experience in the refugee camps through content providers like Senior Correspondent and grow additional connections and funding for a video documentary project about the Rohingya by the Rohingya and their host community, the people of Bangladesh. If you are interested in learning more about this future project, please contact me at email@example.com.