Three-year-old Runa* came into this world during her mother’s gruelling journey across the Myanmar-Bangladesh border as they fled for their lives. Runa* suffers from chronic undernutrition. “I’m worried about my children’s education, their future, their behaviour,” Runa’s mother Hamida* told Save the Children. “I can’t give them whatever they ask for as we don’t have money. We can’t fulfil their dreams. We can’t love and take care of them properly. That’s why I feel very sad. I can’t provide them with good food. When they ask for anything, I can’t give it to them.”
In Myanmar, displacement camps in central Rakhine have been housing Rohingya Muslims as well as Kaman Muslims since 2012, due to previous waves of ethnic violence. Looking at UNHCR data from Myanmar up to December 2019, Save the Children estimates there are 32,066 children under seven years of age spread across 21 camps, representing over 25 percent of the displaced population.
Khadija* has seven children, two of whom were born after she was forced into a camp for internally displaced people following ethnic violence between the Rohingya and Rakhine communities in 2012. “I have children I need to look after. I need to feed them, send them to school, so I need to manage somehow,” she told Save the Children. “We suffered a lot after we came here. We couldn’t eat, sleep or provide medicine to our children. They burned houses and burned some people alive in the market. We didn’t expect to escape alive with our children.”