Ares (8) and Hares (5) are two brother living in the Rohingya camp with their mother. But the world is very hard to them. They have physical problems and can’t walk, play or move like other children. At their very young age they lost their father. There is no one than their mother in this world, to look after them.
Ares and Hares lives in a small makeshift house made of bamboo and tarpaulin at the Rohingya camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh after fleeing to Bangladesh in 2017 from Myanmar.
“When we came to Bangladesh, Ares was only three years old and I was six months pregnant. Hares born in the Rohingya camp. After three years their father died," says Juhara Begum.
Both her sons are physically challenged by birth. First son Ares cannot speak, hold anything or walk without support. And the second son Hares cannot walk properly because of his clubfoot.
After the death of her husband, Juhara Begum was helpless with her two physically challenged sons. She faces challenges and struggles every day to survive in this fragile situation.
“Walking is not easy for Ares. His legs are too weak to walk properly. But he can walk with the support of something.’
Though the physical condition of her second children Hares is slightly better, he also has difficulty to walk due to his club foot. Her mother was emotional remembering the wish of Hares.
"Hares wishes to wear sandals, he tells me: 'Mother, I would like to wear sandals.' I have seen many times that Hares tries wearing the sandals of other children. I have bought a pair of sandals for Hares, but he can’t wear,” says Juhara Begum with melancholy voice.
To Juhara Begum, her children are her lifeline in this world. No matter how far she has to go or how much pain she has to endure to cure his lovely children.
“My husband is no more; my kids are only hope for me to live. But I have been passing a difficult life with them. There is no place I have not gone to treatment my children. Whoever told me to go to a place or person to treatment I went. I have tried every way but no hope was there,” says Juhara Begum looking to her children with gloomy eyes.
Taking care of Ares and Hares, especially when it comes to cleaning, is very difficult to their mother.
“They were afraid to go to toilet as there were no handrails to hold. So we would use the yard for my kids, and later I would clean it. During rainy season the situation becomes worse.”
World Vison provided support to children like Ares and Hares by setting up handrails from their door to the toilet and transforming the latrines into disability-friendly.
“The handrails are really benefiting my children. Now they can use the toilet with little help. Sometimes they play and laugh in the yards by holding the handrail. I smile seeing their joy.”
World Vision’s DFAT-AHP multi-year project is working in the Rohingya camp to support the most vulnerable people including persons with disabilities. The project focused on early childhood development for 3 to 6 year-old children, increasing awareness of child protection among 11 to below 18 year-old adolescents, and ensuring disability inclusion.
“We assessed the needs of the persons with disabilities and children and ensured those facilities. The pathway from house to bathroom was not disability-friendly before. So, we made it accessible and set up handrails. We have also changed the position of commode and set up a rope and railing inside the latrine” says Abdullah Al Rahib, Hygiene Officer of World Vision Bangladesh.
World Vison also conducted awareness sessions to improve hygiene and sanitation in the camp.
“When I came to this family for the first time, I saw that the drain and the toilet were kept unclean due to Ares' and Hares' inability to use the toilet. With the new disability-friendly toilet and our awareness sessions on hygiene and sanitation, the situation in this family has improved. I feel happy that our effort could bring changes in the life of Ares and Hares,” says Abdullah Al Rahib.
Story and Photo by Md Qazi Shamim Hasan and Sumon Francis Gomes