Social gatherings are such an important aspect of Rohingyan culture. Yet in a refugee camp, after having fled so much tragedy, there aren’t many things to celebrate or positive reasons to gather. Especially for women.
We wanted to provide an opportunity for women from the community to come together and enjoy a social gathering, to usher some joy back into their lives.
It was simple – just some tea, a shared meal, and a little fun.
It was a community effort to pull it all together. Everybody pitched in to put up tarp around an existing communal space so there was some privacy. We bought a hot lunch for each of the women.
After the meal, we brought in some henna and makeup artists, turned up the music, and made sure there was plenty of space for everyone to sit and talk.
At first, the women were shy and quiet. But after some time in the private space, they opened up and enjoyed getting henna and talking to one another. It was clear they wanted the social activities to continue when a woman invited everyone to have tea after the gathering.
“I’ve never done this before,” said one woman.
This was time cut out not for anything else besides being pamper and social. A rare moment – and a cherished one.