Written by Samantha Lade, DonateToday
Published: Tuesday, 7th November 2017

Meet Noor: The 11-year-old orphan whose Rohingya family has been targeted, murdered and forced to flee their home for good, like so many others

Meet Noor: The 11-year-old orphan whose Rohingya family has been targeted, murdered and forced to flee their home for good

Written by ##author:samanthalade## for DonateToday

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612,000 Rohingya, including Noor and her Grandpa (pictured), have escaped the atrocities occurring in Myanmar

Myanmar's Rohingya people remain in crisis – facing violence, rape and arson. The UN have described it as a 'textbook example of ethnic cleansing'. Here, Noor, aged just 11, shares the story of how her parents were tragically shot dead as they saved her 120-year-old grandpa's life – forcing Noor to flee to a refugee camp.

A Site of Despair

High up in the Cox’s Bazar region of Bangladesh sits the Kutapalong Refugee Camp. From here, a sea of makeshift settlements and DIY tents stretch as far as the eye can see. 

It’s the site of one of the worst humanitarian crises on the planet today. And the situation is only getting worse.

Since the 25 August, over 612,000 Rohingya refugees have fled across the border of Myanmar into Bangladesh. The UN have even labelled the primarily Muslim ethnic group, who are officially classed as stateless, as ‘the most persecuted minority in the world’.

Many of them are young, elderly and vulnerable. They’ve witnessed atrocities such as torture, arson, rape and murder in their homeland. 

11-year-old Noor is one of those seeking hope and safety in Bangladesh, along with her eight-year-old sister and their grandad ­– whose official documents show that, quite remarkably, he is 120 years old.

But like thousands of others, the family's journey to arrive here at Kutapalong has been one plagued by tragedy and heartbreak along the way.

Tragedy

It was just matter of weeks ago when Noor’s family made the decision to flee the life-threatening dangers posed by the Myanmar security forces. 

Her parents decided they didn't want to leave her grandpa to suffer in Myanmar alone, unable to go about his daily life at such a fragile age. But when Noor’s parents went back to try and bring him, tragedy struck. 

A Muntada Aid volunteer delivers aid to Noor's 'home' – a shelter not built for the oncoming winter climate

Without warning, Noor’s parents were attacked and shot dead at the scene.  

Speaking of her experience, young Noor recalls: ‘Me and my little sister literally dragged my grandad out of Myanmar and left. We called strangers our 'father', 'uncle' and 'brother' to help us come here. We finally managed to get here and took shelter in this tent. But our parents were killed, and we have little to eat here.

‘Girls are quite often abused in Myanmar,' she continues. 'But since coming from our home in Arakan, Myanmar, we have nothing. 

'Grandad struggles to even go to the bathroom on his own, we have to help him. We don’t have anything to cook with. We don’t even have rice or lentils.’

Noor has had her childhood snatched from her, and is now the sole carer of, and provider for, what remains of her family. But Muntada Aid has been there to offer as much help as possible for the young Rohingya girl.

"Our parents were killed, and we have little to eat here."

- Noor

The Threat of Winter

Noor, her sister and their grandpa arrived at Kutapalong just seven days ago. But with winter beginning to loom, the family of children and elderly are now at an even greater risk, say Muntada Aid.

Bangladesh is a tropical country – but whilst temperatures are still reaching up to 30c in the day, the climate begins rapidly dropping during overnight from November onwards, making it extremely cold.

Many refugees arrived during the summer with just the clothes on their back. But disease and serious illness cause by the cold now threaten the lives of these refugees who have already escaped so much in Myanmar.

Muntada Aid have since provided Noor and her family members with food items, clean water and winter blankets and clothing, as well as pyjamas and toiletries. 

They have also provided protective flooring mats for all three, to shield them against the cold which surges up through the soil.

A Muntada Aid volunteer helps local children to pump clean water for the surrounding camps

The emergency aid Muntada Aid have been distributing will unquestionably save thousands of lives during the harsh oncoming winter, preventing children and babies from starving or freezing. 

They continue to ask for your help, to ensure hope and dignity can be brought to the Rohingya – or 'the most persecuted minority in the world.'