‘Sangharsha’- Reaching out to the Refugee

Demonetisation in India did not only render Indians helpless it affected the refugees more so, lives altered evermore by trauma had to cope with no money for food, no bank accounts to deposit money in and no way to exchange old currency for new.

One of YFPI’s main concerns has always been to educate the refugees’ kids about how to best take care of themselves and maintain good hygiene so that what illnesses can be avoided should be avoided. Our team visited the Shaheenbagh camp on 21st of November with the intention of teaching the children about basic hygiene through games and interactive videos we were accompanied by a team from Delloite who also actively engaged with the children and distributed food and goodies. 

The day began at 9:00 AM at the Rohingya refugee camp, the children assembled at the make shift school in the camp eager to experience what we had in store for them, after an initial ice breaker session where we played games such as follow the leader, make it rain, poshampa and danced to popular Hindi kids music our team began the sanitation workshop with an introduction to body parts and what they are called in both Hindi and English, we followed up the introduction with a group game called “germ invasion” in which the children were divided into two groups, one group was the human group and the other group was the germ group, the human group was asked basic hygiene questions like “how many times do you brush in a day?” or “should you wash your hands after blowing your nose?” for every wrong answer one person from the germ group would invade the human group at the end of the exercise the children were asked to reflect upon their bad habits and how they could cause them to fall ill after which communicative diseases were discussed in a simple manner, to help them understand the concepts better an animated health and hygiene video in Hindi was shown to them which they thoroughly enjoyed. 

Upon the arrival of the team from Deloitte, food boxes were distributed to the children, for which they were very grateful as food has been a constant problem since the demonetisation and even two meals a day are hard to come by, once the children were done eating and had gotten accustomed to the new people in black and were happily socializing with them we returned to the sessions, the next activity was the “glitter germs” game which was also played by the Deloitte team, a pinch of glitter was given to each child and adult sitting in the circle without telling them the motive behind the activity, they were asked to shake hands with each other, as expected by the end of this most people were covered in glitter or “chamkila” as the kids like to call it, we then went on to discuss what the “chamkila” represented i.e. Germs and how important hand washing is, to teach the kids how to properly wash hands a catchy hand washing song was taught to them.

“Top and bottom, Top and bottom 
In between, In between 
Crush, Crush, rub, rub
Crush, crush, rub, rub
Now we’re clean! Now we’re clean!”

The children were quick to memorize it and sang it together multiple times.Since the day had been tiring the team and the kids did an energising exercise called “reaching for the stars” involving stretches to improve circulation and create a few laughs! As the adults looked on from the outside of the school we went on to do a few “play for peace” games such as “fruit salad” and “elephant baby” which are age appropriate and sing song activities that children thoroughly enjoyed. 
The children danced to a few songs again and sat down for a drawing session with the Deloitte team, who distributed papers, colours and drew and coloured with them.

This brought us to the end of our session with the children, the day ended on a high for the kids as they received more food boxes, stationery kits, chips, notebooks and colours from the gracious Deloitte team. 
YFPI members and the visiting team gathered at the school with the camp leaders to better understand certain issues faced by them such as, problems with IDs, money exchange, jobs, clean drinking water, hygiene in the camps, lack of proper education for the children, death of close friends and relatives back in Myanmar due to mass “ethnic cleansing” leading to deaths in staggering numbers as far as the Muslim minority is concerned. We hope the session with the leaders helped the Deloitte team better understanding the lives of refugees in camps such as these. 


The day ended at 5 PM with an internal meeting of the YFPI team upon the departure of the team from Deloitte, where the pros and cons of the day were assessed and the day was declared a success, the YFPI team left the Rohingya camp with their resolve to help the Rohingya community strengthened.