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Women rebuilding lives in the Bangladesh camps

March 13th, 2018 by Posted in Uncategorized
Rajiah, a 46 years old midwife, from Myanmar is now living in a refugee camp in Bangladesh with thousand other Rohingya refugees. As a midwife in Myanmar, she has delivered some 10,000 babies.

Rajiah, a 46 years old midwife, from Myanmar is now living in a refugee camp in Bangladesh with thousand other Rohingya refugees. As a midwife in Myanmar, she has delivered some 10,000 babies.

Rajiah, a 46 years old midwife, from Myanmar – which she fled following the violence 6 months ago, with her younger daughter (15 years) –  is now living in a refugee camp in Bangladesh with thousand other Rohingya. Rajiah has been surrounded by women throughout her life as the eldest of 10 sisters. She herself has 5 daughters, two of which are also in camps living as refugees in Bangladesh with their husbands, the other two remain in Myanmar. Tragically Rajiah’s husband disappeared when the violence broke out in Myanmar, Rajiah has no way of knowing where he is. Like so many women in the camp, Rajiah must head up her household alone.

Oxfam has come to know Rajiah is a leader having met her through an assessment of people’s needs where she was unanimously selected to represent her community. Rajiah is well educated and has been working with and for her community throughout her life. As a midwife in Myanmar, she told OXFAM she has delivered some 10,000 babies. Now, as she continues her life as a refugee in Bangladesh, she is making sure she puts her experience to good use, and supports and provides information to the pregnant women in her community.

Rajiah now lives in a refugee camp in Bangladesh. She is making sure she puts her experience to good use, and supports and provides information to the pregnant women in her community. PC: Maruf Hasan/Oxfam

Rajiah now lives in a refugee camp in Bangladesh. She is making sure she puts her experience to good use, and supports and provides information to the pregnant women in her community. PC: Maruf Hasan/Oxfam

Rajiah was born in a comparatively affluent family in Myanmar. Education was an important part of her childhood, and her family made sure all the girls had 8 years of schooling. Rajiah speaks particularly highly of her father, who she says was the greatest influence in her life.

Rajiah honed her leadership skills from a young age, starting at school as a class leader. Later, organizations, including the UN working in her community, selected Rajiah as one of their volunteers. She continued working as a health worker and played a major role in the vaccination process in her area – helping to prevent children dying needlessly from preventable illnesses. Rajiah is outspoken and confident, a full believer in women’s role outside the household. That way, she says, women can get knowledge and they can advance – and then other women could also come forward simply by seeing these role models. She is very keen on working and further helping her community, especially the women in her community.

OXFAM is planning on organizing women’s groups in the camps and Rajiah is the ideal person to lead this process in her community. With her leadership skills, kind and warm personality, she will undoubtedly make great progress with the women in the community. So, on International Women’s Day, we want to celebrate women like Rajiah, who in the face of their own suffering, continue to lead the way to make a difference to other women’s lives.

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