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Thursday, Oct 24, 2019

International Women’s Day: For her, March 8 is one more day of helping other refugees

Lyinn narrates her journey across borders — she managed to reach Dhaka from?her hometown Maungdaw on a Myanmar passport. From there, she took a bus to the India border with her three children. From there, she and her children rode pillion on a motorcycle to Kolkata, from where she took a train to Delhi to join her husband who had arrived there a year ago.

delhi Updated: Mar 09, 2019 03:00 IST
Pallabi Munsi
Pallabi Munsi
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
A Rohingya refugee working as a translator at Vikaspuri in New Delhi.
A Rohingya refugee working as a translator at Vikaspuri in New Delhi. (Sanchit Khanna/HT PHOTO)
         

In her 10ftX10ft rented house in west Delhi, life for 36-year-old Ohmar Lyinn on Friday was no different from other days.

As was her routine, she pored over sheets of paper and studied charts and history of patients she had to attend to the next day. For helping out the Rohingya, the stateless refugees fleeing persecution in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, was a year-round task — one that carried on and on, long after the celebrations of International Women’s Day ended.

Herself a Rohingya refugee, Lyinn knows how crucial this help is; it could often be the difference between life and death. Having escaped her home in Rakhine State in Myanmar in 2014, and having cobbled together a life of her own in Delhi, she now ensures that women like her do not find it hard to get basic health care facilities in the national capital owing to the language barrier.

The only bit of celebration she allows herself on Friday is a small lunch and function held at her office in Vikaspuri.

Lyinn and four other Rohingya women have taken stock of community empowerment projects. Her main job, as a volunteer of UNHRC’s Bosco Foundation Refugee Assistance Programme, is to translate problems of patients from Ruáingga bhasha and Burmese to Hindi and vice versa.

Lyinn narrates her journey across borders — she managed to reach Dhaka from her hometown Maungdaw on a Myanmar passport. From there, she took a bus to the India border with her three children. From there, she and her children rode pillion on a motorcycle to Kolkata, from where she took a train to Delhi to join her husband who had arrived there a year ago.

For Lyinn, each case is a personal battle. The one that affected her the most was that a 43-year-old woman with endometrial (lining of the uterus or womb) cancer. “I ran from pillar to post but her condition was such that the doctors couldn’t do much,” she says. “I helped get her admitted to Safdarjung Hospital quite a few times, but she was in pain and eventually succumbed to the cancer two years ago.”

“I do what I do because I just want to ensure that Rohingya are treated as humans,” she avers.

Selin Susan Mathews, project manager of the Bosco Refugee Assistance Programme, says, “Lyinn helps refugee women and children access government health services. Child marriage was a major concern in the Rohingya community. She played a pivotal role in sensitising the community about the ill-effects.”

“Lyinn gets paid an allowance of Rs 14,850 a month. Working with her has helped us a lot because she does done community work in her country as well and she helps mobilise volunteers as she is educated.”

First Published: Mar 09, 2019 03:00 IST

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