Fleeing violence in Myanmar

Guljar's story

When we met Guljar in 2017, she was forty years old.

A widow for a number of years, she was bringing up her two daughters aged 15 and 12, and her son aged 9, alone. Her 15-year-old daughter had a baby, just 18 months old.

In Myanmar they had a home and a small farm with a few animals. Life was good for them. Until they became increasingly concerned for their own safety, and felt they should leave.

‘We decided to leave. At midnight we cooked up all the rice we had along with some pickle. We left in the early hours of the morning under the cover of darkness.

‘We headed for the mountains. We couldn’t take the roads as we knew this could lead to trouble.’

It took them three days of trudging, carrying a small child, for this family of five to scale the mountain. This is open wild country, and there were no tracks to follow.

Guljar noted the kindness of strangers along the way:

‘As we were running out of food, other people supported us if they could, and as we passed houses some of these people would help as well. We found a place in the river where we could cross that wasn’t too deep.’

A majority of the displaced Rohingya people were living in makeshift shelters of bamboo and thin plastic sheets, leaving them exposed to the elements.

We couldn’t take the roads as we knew this could lead to trouble.

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What's happening in Myanmar?


Since August 2017, thousands of families have crossed the border into Bangladesh to escape sectarian violence in Myanmar.

Guljar and her family are among over 688,000 Rohingya refugees who have fled in fear. Many left their homes with nothing and we know that they desperately need shelter, lighting, and water.

We partnered with the International Organisation for Migration to support 4,000 Rohingya families in Cox’s Bazar District in Bangladesh. Families have received solar lights, water carriers, blankets, tarpaulins and lengths of rope.

These aid items have allowed people like Guljar to regain a sense of safety and comfort, and to start their long recovery journey.

Find out more

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