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  • Writer's pictureAhtaram Shin

Bachan Char Island's unlikely duo: Rohingya boy and his goat companion


2023 © Mijanur Rahman

Spreading joy and promoting eco-friendly habits on Bachan Char Island, a Rohingya refugee named Mohammad Manik delighted in feeding goats, making a positive impact on both lives and the environment. Mohammad Manik named his goat Shant Manik out of love, seeing the goat as a family member. He spent time with Shant Manik, feeding him by cutting grass. Mohammad dreamed of raising animals and selling them at a higher price to benefit his family financially.


In 2023, when the Mijanur Rahman took the picture, the boy was playing with the goat after feeding it. He diligently cut grass for his goat every day, and they would sit together in a quiet place, where he fed the goat by hand. Their bond was evident as the goat fearlessly ate from his hand. Their relationship was comfortable, reflecting the Rohingya's history of farming animals.


'Farming animals was one of the main livelihoods of the Rohingya in Arakan, and each Rohingya has unique skills and experiences in this field.' —Mijanur said

About the Photographer: Mijanur Rahman, was born in 1994 in Myanmar, but his life as a refugee began in 1996 when his family fled to Bangladesh. Despite facing the challenges of early bereavement and displacement, Mijanur's resilience was evident from a young age. His educational journey commenced at a primary school in Kutupalong village and continued at Shah Amir High School in Chittagong's Patia area. However, circumstances led him back to the Kutupalong camp in Cox's Bazar, truncating his dreams of higher education.


Self-portrait. 2024 © Mijanur Rahman

In 2015, Mijanur found his calling in education, teaching with the Rohingya Children Education Program until 2018. He later served as a Trainer of Trainers (TOT) with the Plan International Organization of Bangladesh. His journey took a new turn in December 2020 when he moved to the Bhasanchar Rohingya refugee camp, assisting international media as a fixer for newspapers like The Guardian.


As a Founder of the Bhasanchar Rohingya Youth Association (bcrya.com) and a Rohingya Skill Volunteer with the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society, Mijanur is a beacon of hope and guidance for many. Aspiring to be a journalist, he is dedicated to sharing his community's narratives. His dream is to amplify the voices of the Rohingya, bringing their stories to the global stage.


'Every story I share on social media, whether joyful or sorrowful, is a testament to our enduring spirit and a call for understanding,' says Mijanur.

 

This feature is part of The Rohingya Experience, an exhibition in St Helier, Island of Jersey during July 2024, developed by Rohingyatographer, a collective of Rohingya refugee photographers in partnership with Jersey Overseas Aid.

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