Bangladesh is about to build one of the world’s largest refugee camps for 800,000 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar. But what is it like to be a refugee stranded in a foreign land, often forced to survive in crowded, overflowing camps?
An immersive virtual reality film in 360 degrees, by Contrast VR, Al Jazeera’s virtual reality team, offers a brief glimpse into this existence, through the experiences of one woman.
The short documentary (above) titled I am Rohingya, follows the life of 26-year-old Jamalida Begum in the Kutupalong refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. “We came to Bangladesh after being persecuted in Myanmar,” she says. “If I close my eyes, memories start popping up. I just see the things I have lost; my house and land, my husband, the villagers. How can I return home, and will peace be restored?”
Jamalida Begum is one of millions of Rohingyas now in limbo, homeless. Amnesty International’s Crisis Response Director, Tirana Hassan, said, “This film is essential viewing in that it offers a visceral look at how one woman’s life was brutally shattered by the Myanmar authorities’ campaign of repression against the Rohingya. For this to happen to a single family is a horrific crime; the subsequent ethnic cleansing of more than 480,000 Rohingya amounts to crimes against humanity. Jamalida’s story could not be more timely: With the UN Security Council meeting again this week, the world must take urgent action to stop the atrocities taking place in Myanmar’s Rakhine State.”