Save the Children supported Suhaib to re-enrol in school and provided him with a student kit and food package for his family. But now, he’s out of school again. Suhaib’s school has been closed since mid-March due to the COVID-19, and no one is quite sure when it will re-open.
“Now the school is closed and studying has stopped because of the COVID-19 outbreak. We wish that COVID-19 would be controlled so we can go back to school and study,” says Suhaib.
Trying to heal in Bangladesh
The negative mental health effects of COVID-19 are also hitting children hard.
School closures have limited children’s opportunities for important social interactions, while staying at home, fears of infection, family stress and financial loss have exacerbated stresses and worries. These effects may be most pronounced for children with pre-existing mental health problems.
For Amir*, the pandemic comes at the time when he’s only just beginning to recover from his traumatic journey to Bangladesh as a Rohingya refugee.
“We suffered a lot when we were coming here from Myanmar,” his grandmother Dilda explains. “They were shooting at us from the hill. And because of this I lost my daughter. We still don’t know if she is dead or where she went or if she drowned in the canal.”
“My grandson was crying and said he wouldn’t go without his mother. After coming here (to Bangladesh) he was looking for his mother. We were settling in, but he was crying a lot. I told him I didn’t know where his mother was. I couldn’t tell him the Burmese [soldiers] had killed his mother or he would freak out.”
Amir started attending the Child Friendly Spaces in the Cox’s Bazar camp, and was starting to interact with the other children. “I used to be scared but I don’t feel fear like I used to,” he says. “I love going to the Child Friendly Space. I play with my friends, make paper flowers, then play Carrom Board and Ludo. I made paper flowers, then coloured them and decorated the walls with them. I love making people laugh. I also love to talk with people.”
With the Child Friendly Space now closed to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the camp, Amir is receiving home visits from a dedicated case manager, Nazmul. But Nazmul is fearful Amir’s isolation could bring back his depression.