Cii Projects Update – 23 March 2018
Today is the last day where I will be visiting the refugee camps. This morning I had a moment of gratitude. I thanked Allah SWT for granting me this opportunity of coming to Bangladesh. The last six days haven’t been the easiest but I hope we have made a difference and our little contribution have given been beneficial. As I get ready for our final day I am a bit emotional, my journey is coming to an end, a journey that has left an indelible mark on my soul.
We once again set off to the camps, the team didn’t reveal much about where we were going. Eventually we found ourselves at a place called Taknaf, this is the closest distance between the border of Bangladesh and Myanmar.
Our journey took us 3 hours but nothing could prepare me for the conditions in Taknaf. The camps here were in dire condition. Infrastructure was non-existent and shelters were on the verge of collapse. The Rohingya in these camps were older in age and had been refugees for a longer period of time. We continued our journey through the camps via Tuk-Tuk on gravel roads. I saw many labourers pass by as well as cows that had ‘Burma’ written on their sides. This astonished me, and I later learnt that the animals had also fled Myanmar via boat. My mind was racing with questions, I couldn’t imagine the severity of the conditions on the other side of the border, that resulted in even animals fleeing.
We finally got to our destination, we were in ‘No mans land’. I stood right in the middle of Bangladesh and Myanmar. The army had given us permission to walk on the pier of the beach we were on. I curiously looked around to find the beach had extremely wet soil. There was no tide between 11 in the morning and 8.00pm at night which meant many of the Rohingya fleeing the violence in Myanmar could only arrive between those times.
As we walked around Brother Atiq Ur Rahman was recalling his experience of the last time he was here. He recalled seeing houses on fire on the other side of the border and how he reached out and brought refugees over from Myanmar. Other Rohingya had fled in small boats with only the clothes on their backs. Upon reaching Bangladesh they had to walk for 14 hours at a time, desperately trying to find camps.
A soldier from the military started to chat to us. He told us about how devastated he was seeing the Rohingya Muslims suffering at the hands of the Myanmar army. This soldier assists the Rohingya cross over to Bangladesh in boats so they can seek refuge from the violence.
We eventually got back into our vehicles and started the long journey back home. My heart and mind was racing and the reality of the situation became crystal clear. An entire people were being ruthlessly driven out of their homes. My mind wandered to the children I had met and the gruesome journey they had to undertake to get to safety. My heart is breaking as we make our way back to Cox’s Bazaar and I realise my journey is coming to an end.
I have been in Bangladesh for six days. I saw thousands of people, walked kilometres in the heat. My journey has been emotionally and physically exhausting but I wish I could stay here and assist the Rohingya. Life takes us on different paths, I am so grateful to Allah SWT that the path he had chosen for me led me to this place on earth and resulted in a miniscule amount of service for the oppressed in our Ummah.
I can honestly say I am not the same person I was six days ago. My mind always goes towards the children, the elderly I have met, their desperation and hunger will forever haunt my thoughts. May Allah SWT always make us mindful when we are ungrateful, wallahi we live a life of utmost luxury in South Africa.
My incredible journey ends on a note of gratitude toward all the people who walked with me and assisted us during these six days.
On behalf of Cii Projects I would like to extend our special thanks to Dr Hoosein and Aaqilah Peer. Your assistance to the Rohingya will never be forgotten. May Allah SWT reward you both in this world and the next.
I would also like to thank Syria Relief UK, brother Numayer from the Asia Pacific Children’s Fund, Brother Shaheen Ur Rahmaan. Dr Latif and finally my brother Brother Atiq Ur Rahmaan. Thank you for accompanying, teaching me and guiding me during this trip. Your rewards are undoubtedly all in Jannah.
A final thank you to my team and colleagues at Cii Projects/Cii Radio and my beloved family and friends.
With tears in my eyes I also thank all our esteemed donors and everyone following my journey. If you are reading this please raise your hands in duas for the Rohingya. Our Ummah is a body and from what I have seen I can tell you that the body is bleeding profusely. May Allah SWT grant the Rohingya ease and always use us in the service of this beloved Ummah.
Follow us on instagram:
Please donate a generously towards the refugee shelters, food, water and medical supplies in the camps.
Account holder: Cii Projects
Acc no: 625 011 580 77
Branch Code: 250 655
Ref: ROH zakaat/lillah
Cii Projects, Together We Make a Difference
Hafez Yousuf Manack