Dildar: “I didn’t have time to name my son, my priority was keeping him alive.”
In 2017, a heavily pregnant Dildar fled her home in Burma on foot, escaping the persecution responsible for the deaths of thousands of Rohingya Muslims — Dildar, her aging mother and three young children in tow.
Her fourth couldn’t wait for safety. Dildar gave birth to him in the bush in the no man’s land between Burma and Bangladesh. For seven days, the terrified family walked, desperately looking for safety — without food and water the entire time.
They arrived at Action Against Hunger’s clinic dehydrated, malnourished and traumatized. The team treated and fed Dildar’s family, and took down her story. She hadn’t named her son. She had bigger priorities, like keeping him alive.
The Kutupalong refugee camp, where Dildar and her family ended up finding refuge after their journey, lies outside Cox’s Bazar in southern Bangladesh. It is one of the largest camps in the world, with a population of approximately 700,000 refugees fleeing violence, rape and slaughter. That is the population of Winnipeg or Edmonton. And more than half are children.
Dildar is living in an area with tents Action Against Hunger had built earlier in the crisis. She hasn’t heard from her husband since she fled Burma without him. She suspects he is dead.
Her children are all stronger now. She has named her youngest son soon after arriving at the camp. His name is Rofiq. He has big brown eyes: bright, innocent, completely unaware of the struggles his family has faced to bring him to safety.
Now that her youngest son has a second chance, Dildar can finally think about her future. She has only one simple hope: “I wish I could go home.”