A day in the life of a Rohingya refugee child
Jannatul is a 5-year-old Rohingya refugee girl. Her life was turned upside down when she and her mother fled Myanmar. They settled across the border in Bangladesh in what is now the world’s largest refugee camp.
Jannatul’s name means “heaven,” but her life is anything but heaven.
For 12 hours, walk with Jannatul through what a typical day might look like for her.
7 a.m.: Jannatul wakes up in a 10-by-10-foot shelter — made of bamboo and a plastic tarp — that she shares with her mother. There’s not much in this simple home beyond basic necessities and the little her mother could carry when they ran for their lives. Jannatul’s father and two younger siblings were killed in the conflict.
8 a.m.: Jannatul finds joy in small things like a snack and tea. They remind her of home.
9 a.m.: Twice a day, Jannatul visits a religious school in the refugee camp. She survived what one U.N. official described as “textbook ethnic cleansing” of the Rohingya — a Muslim minority ethnic group — in Myanmar.
10 a.m.: Jannatul enjoys her breakfast. Food means a lot to her — perhaps more than many 5-year-olds. When she and her mother fled Myanmar, they walked for a week in the rain to find safety in Bangladesh. They ate little for three days. Jannatul was extremely weak when another family on the journey shared their rice with her.
11 a.m.: Up to 2,000 children on average attend World Vision’s 12 learning centers each week. At the center, Jannatul enjoys looking at picture books and drawing. That’s what we love to see: kids being kids!
12 p.m.: In the camp, Jannatul is beginning to recover and can play, laugh, and smile.
1 p.m.: At midday, Jannatul enjoys lunch, remembering the fruit she ate back in Myanmar. “At home, we ate mangoes and jackfruit. I miss those,” Jannatul says.
2 p.m.: Faith plays an important role in Jannatul’s life. This is her second visit to the religious school she attends twice a day.
3 p.m.: Children need to feel safe when they play. At World Vision’s learning centers, Jannatul and her classmates can play and feel free to be kids! “When they come here, they can forget those things. They can have fun,” says Jannatul’s teacher, 20-year-old Farjana Faraz Tumpa. “When they come here, they feel good. They are treated nicely.”
4 p.m.: Jannatul enjoys helping her mother with daily chores. She buys potatoes and helps collect water for cooking and cleaning.
5 p.m.: Jannatul and her mother, Salima, chat during dinner, sharing highlights from their day.
6 p.m.: Salima holds Jannatul as she finally falls asleep after a long day of playing, praying, and chores. They are thankful every day that they still have each other.
Thank you for walking with us through a day in Jannatul’s life. If you would like to make a difference for Jannatul and other refugee children who need our help, please donate today!