Yesterday you shared a meal with your family at home. You were all together, so you gathered everyone around for a family photo. That was the last family photo you would ever take — and also the last time you would see your family. Today you’re on the run. Your family is forced to flee — by boat, by car, by foot, by any means necessary. Everyone is set on a different path with an unknown future. And suddenly your family tree has now been scattered across 4 countries, 3 continents, and 5 cities.
The only thing you hold is the photo of your family members who are now scattered across the globe.
Rohingya Reunions is dedicated to highlight the stories of resilience, hope, and the power of family. It’s a collection of stories about the lives of my Rohingya friends who have been scattered across the world — with little hope of seeing their family again. We don’t all have the ability to travel. As long as I have a passport in hand, I will continue to find my Rohingya friends across the world, piece together their family trees, and share their stories.
I met my Rohingya friends at a shelter in Thailand after they fled Myanmar. That’s when they shared with me their stories and invited me into the Rohingya community. I thought I would never see them again after moving back to the States. In January 2016, I discovered that they were resettled in the States. I set out on the mission of finding my Rohingya friends and took it a step further to find their family members across the world. It hasn’t stopped since.
I’ve traveled to 19 cities in 4 countries (and counting) to find my friends.
The best part is that it’s only the beginning. These stories are still being carved out day-by-day. I only share a small part of their story, but I hope to serve them as best I can.