Jamila and Rashid are Rohingans from Myanmar (Burma) and while the plight of the Rohinga people is well-known internationally, it is unusual to find Rohingan refugees who have come as far as Athens.
Jamila and Rashid had the foresight to leave Myanmar in 2012 as the situation was becoming increasingly difficult for the Rohingan people. They spent several months in Bangladesh, then India, where their first child was born, before settling in Iran for 4 years.
Life in Iran was not easy without papers, they had difficulty accessing basic services and were constantly in hiding from the police. Then tragedy struck. Their son required urgent medical care, but the hospital refused to treat them due to their lack of documentation. The child died.
Jamila, pregnant by this point with Fatima and utterly heartbroken, didn’t have the heart to stay in Iran. They pushed on to Turkey where Jamila suddenly went into labour and gave birth to Fatima two months prematurely.
They were able to give birth in a hospital, but were not able to access adequate follow-up care for a premature baby. They decided to keep going to Greece in hopes that they could get proper medical attention and make a formal refugee claim.
They took a boat to Kos island and stayed briefly in the camp there. Because of the baby’s condition, they were soon sent to Athens to receive medical attention.
How exactly they were supposed to do this remained vague, as all they received was a ferry ticket. The camps in Athens were full and they ended up living on the streets with their baby. This is where CRIBS found them.
We housed them temporarily in a hotel until we could prepare a space for them. They are currently living with another family who have made them feel very welcome. The daughters from the two families seem almost like sisters.