Bangladesh: A farmer opens his farm and his heart to hundreds of Rohingya refugees

Seeing so many ordinary people in distress, farmer Akhter Hossain and his wife Nargis Begum listened to their hearts and opened their doors.

“They needed land for shelter and we had land. We are human and they are human." Akhter Hossain said.

When 50-year old Mohammad Kasim was forced to flee his home in Myanmar, he never thought he would be marking the end of Ramadan in the small village of Jamtoli in Bangladesh. As violence erupted in Myanmar last August, he had no choice but to flee the violence of their country for the safety of southeast Bangladesh.

Seeing so many ordinary people in distress, farmer Akhter Hossain and his wife Nargis Begum listened to their hearts and opened their doors, “I still feel like crying when I remember the first time I met the families and saw them wailing… we took the babies in our arms and changed their wet clothes.” remembers 45-year-old Akhter.

 

“They needed land forshelter and we had land.We are human andthey are human…”

 

Akhter’s farmland is now home to more than 300 Rohingya men, women and children. Filled with bamboo shelters, the farm is also the site of two temporary learning centres for Rohingya children.

Nargis said that while the family used to feel quite isolated, she’s now pleased her children have so many new friends. And these temporary residents are keen to express their gratitude any way they can. “They often help us doing chores like moving rice. Whenever I need their help, they help us,” she said.

Mohammad Kasim says he and other refugee families will never forget the Hossain’s family generosity and selflessness.

 

 

About UNHCR:

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was established on 14 December 1950 by the United Nations General Assembly. The agency is mandated to lead and coordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee issues. It strives to ensure that everyone has the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another state, with the option to voluntarily return home when conditions are conducive for return, integrate locally or resettle to a third country. UNHCR has twice won the Nobel Peace Prize, in 1954 for its ground-breaking work in helping the refugees of Europe, and in 1981 for its worldwide assistance to refugees.