Journey To Freedom – Running For The Rohingya Refugees

Seeing new faces, shaking a stranger’s hand, embracing each other in a hug, sharing stories from our countries and welcoming one another into our lives; travelling has taught me to appreciate the little things in life. Things that we normally take for granted such as small moments of joy, the feeling of water trickling down your throat after a long run, seeing a family member after a long time and suddenly finding a fiver in the internal pocket of your jacket that you have not worn in ages.

Travelling also taught me to be more grateful for what I have including things like family, a house, a car, food, money, security, fresh air, clean water and so much more.

Travelling has made me realise that there are many people that are unable to travel because of limitations on their passports or because of political reasons. This has made me even more grateful as I am able to travel freely throughout the globe without my passport causing an issue.

Travelling has also taught me that the world is filled with kind, generous and happy people who are being denied basic human rights without a valid reason. These people are just like us; men, women and children. Fathers, mothers, spouses and siblings all similarly hopeful about life as much as we are.

There are many people around the globe that do not have many, if not all, of the privileges above. One group of people who have been completely stripped of not only their possessions, relationships, money and more, but also their identity, is the people of Rohingya. They have been driven out forcibly from their home country, Burma (Myanmar) and due to this, have had to slowly yet very painfully travel across and settle into their neighbouring country, Bangladesh. However many have not been able to escape the brutality of ethnic cleansing whilst others have died trying to find a new home. This and much more has caused life to become a living disaster for many with children becoming witnesses of murder, rape and burning of entire villages. The amount of people that have been struck by this holocaust-like tragedy easily amounts to millions. If there’s one thing that I have learnt to do more through travelling, it is to realise that it is our responsibility to be conscious of those less fortunate around us.

The Rohingya, a Muslim ethnic minority group in Rakhine, are considered among
the most persecuted, vulnerable, and oppressed minorities in the world. The Rohingya continue to suffer from several forms of restrictions and human rights violations in Myanmar due to them being denied Myanmar citizenship. They are victims of various forms of oppression, such as arbitrary taxation, land confiscation, destruction of mosques, torture and ill treatment, extrajudicial executions, restrictions on movements, forced eviction and house destruction, forced laborers on roads and at military camps, and financial
restrictions on marriage.

Mohajan | History of Rakhine State and the Origin of the Rohingya

Traveller’s have one thing in common; the sense of bringing the world together to unite as human beings. In fact, it is a Qur’anic principle. God, the most exalted mentions, ‘O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another‘. (49:13) This is the single most contributing factor towards my passion of travelling. Ask any traveller and they will passionately tell you that they are open to and respect different cultures, religions, ethnicities and traditions. As an avid traveller, I want to meet different people, understand their stories, visit their homes and try their foods. All this in an effort to promote that though we all have contrasting backgrounds, we are all related as humans. It is for this reason that the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) once mentioned, “The believers in their mutual kindness, compassion and sympathy are just like one body. When one of the limbs suffers, the whole body responds to it with wakefulness and fever”. (Bukhari)

For these reasons, I have chosen to run the Preston City 10K with my sister Sultana Ahmed, the running enthusiast and blogger, my brother in law and my three younger brothers. This is in collaboration with the renowned and established charity organisation, Penny Appeal. We aim to run on the 29th of September and raise the amount of £1000 that will be utilised to house and feed Rohingya families as well as contribute to their well being in many other ways. We hope that you can dig deep into your pockets and spare anything so that we can allow for restoration of their once happy and content lives. Click on the link below to be part of this project. If you’re not able to donate, simply sharing this article and link to spread the word would be a huge help to raise awareness.

“Thanks For Helping Us”

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