Rohingya Refugees in Bangladesh Camps Find Relief in Art

Rohingya Refugees in Bangladesh Camps Find Relief in Art

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Producer: Shohini Bose
Video Editor:
Abhishek Sharma

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(Rohingya refugees on Saturday, 25 August marked the anniversary of a deadly military crackdown in their Myanmar homeland that drove 700,000 of the persecuted minority into Bangladesh, stateless and confronting a grim future. This story – which was first published on 1 August 2018 – is being republished from The Quint’s archives to mark what they are calling “black day”.)

Two artists from New York, Max Frieder and Joel Bergner, are bringing colour to the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh and smiles to the faces of children and their families.

Their art classes and murals are brightening up the camps and bringing hope and pride to the Rohingya people who have been forced to flee their homes.

The congested refugee camp of Kutupalong in Bangladesh, is home to more than 9,00,000 Rohingya people who have fled the violence in Myanmar.

Amid the sea of makeshift bamboo and tarpaulin shelters that dot the rolling hills are huts that have been painted over with colourful murals.

Frieder and Bergner first came to Bangladesh in December 2017, soon after violence broke out in Myanmar that led to hundreds of thousands Rohingya crossing on foot and on boats to Bangladesh.

The Rohingyas have suffered a lot in Myanmar. They slaughtered people’s mothers and shot people dead. When children see this art, they forget about all that. They become very happy instead.  
Hasina, Rohingya artist

Many of the Rohingya refugees have spent almost a year living in Bangladesh, with little hope of repatriation to their homes in Myanmar.

Only some people have found ways of earning a living but most rely on aid from organisations working in the camps, for food and other basic amenities like blankets.

(With inputs from AP.)

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