Nur Begum, 70, and 13 of her relatives are among the million Rohingya sheltering in the world’s largest refugee camp in Bangladesh
Zaheda is worrying about her daughters. At 20 and 18, respectively, Gulsar and Abeda should be married by now, but life is not as it should be. It hasn’t been since they fled their homes with a dozen other family members almost a year ago. “Marriage is what is expected of women,” 40-year-old Zaheda says. “It is tied up with honour; not being married brings shame.” A man she knew in Myanmar wants them to marry his sons, but she can’t pay the dowry he’s hoping for.
Zaheda and her daughters are clustered together on the floor of a shelter in the world’s largest refugee camp, in the Cox’s Bazar district of south-eastern Bangladesh. Formerly two separate camps, it now holds over 700,000 Rohingya people who have fled Myanmar, spread across the hills in row upon row of tarpaulin and bamboo shelters. Four generations of the Begum family live here: 70-year-old Nur; her 50-year-old son Anwar and his wife Zaheda; their 10 children, aged from two to 25; and Nur’s great-grandson, Sultan, aged two.