Like Jyoti Mondal* who came to Kolkata 16 years ago after being persecuted due to some political connection in Myanmar, there are many who fled their native land. Imagine the countless people like him who have to change their identities to protect themselves when they enter different countries like illegal immigrants.I had never heard of Rohingyas before. It was my brother's idea to start a campaign about them. As I wanted to travel and do photography about people and culture, this cause immediately connected with me . I researched about them I found that there are chances of Rohingyas getting entirely wiped out, it was then I realized the seriousness of the issue.
Rohingyas are one of the most persecuted people in the world. They are denied citizenship from their own country: Myanmar. Extreme persecution has forced the community to leave their country and settle in other countries. However, chances of acknowledged refuge have been bleak in most places. Some places have even restricted their ability to marry or travel without permission from the governments.
Around 300,000 -500,000 people live illegally in Bangladesh only . Many have also come to India in search of refuge, particularly in Delhi, Hyderabad, Jammu and Kashmir and, especially, Kolkata. However, very little information is available about them. In India, their exodus to the country has not been acknowledged.
The plight of Rohingyas is a pressing issue and demonstrates as a present-day genocide which continues to be rampant, while international community merely observes.
It is time we act.
Where will the funds be used for?
- To tell their stories via a research trip starting with Kolkata. An extensive photography project will be undertaken in refugee camps in the city to elucidate their conditions.
- To understand how they are surviving and the challenges they are facing.
- To raise awareness about them and explore options on how and where they can get refuge, pressuring government to form policy measures for their acceptance.
Plans with Funds
- To travel to different parts of Kolkata, including the outskirts and slums to collect information about the community.
- To partner with organizations which help such refugees with a focus on human rights in providing and receiving information.
- To cover the stay, travel, food expenses of the reporter/photographer, and any small help which can be done for the pressing needs Rohingya people living there. The primary aim of this project will be to raise awareness.
- Why Kolkata?
Because of its proximity to Bangladesh, it is possible to infiltrate into West Bengal. Kolkata provides labour jobs and the possibility of settling into an urban slum.
- What other places will I cover?
- How big the project is?
The current estimate is a six month project. Depending on the response, it can be expanded to cover other cities such as Delhi and Hyderabad where some information on Rohingya settlement is available.
*Story of Jyoti Mondal
To more about me or my cause, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org