File photo of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. Photograph:( Reuters )
For Rohingya Muslim refugee Imtiaz Fatema, sitting in her makeshift camp in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, the holy month of Ramadan has become a period of uncertainty and melancholy.
Living in tough conditions -- most of the refugees reside in flimsy, bamboo-and-plastic structures -- Fatema reflects on her previous life in Myanmar, where they were able to work and buy a delectable spread for their families, "during Ramadan we used to have good food there -- crispy food while we sit for Iftar (breaking fast) in the early morning."
Now, her young toddler and her life on handouts from aid agencies in the refugee camps, cooking meals consisting of mostly rice, dal, and salt on a flimsy pot in front of her shelter.
Ramadan, the ninth and the holiest month in the Islamic calendar, is marked by fasting and visiting friends and family. At sunset, Muslims around the world gather for 'Iftar', the fast-breaking meal of the day.
"We are just thinking about how we will buy food for Iftar (breaking fast) and for dinner during the coming Ramadan. We have nothing. We need help," said Fatema.
Ramadan is expected to start this week, subject to the sighting of the moon. Rohingya Muslims residing in refugee camps have also been getting ready for the start of the holy month by repairing their shelters.
According to the United Nations and rights groups, attacks from insurgents in Myanmar had sent nearly 700,000 Rohingyas fleeing to camps in Bangladesh.