Anwara has lived a nightmare. Her village was burned to the ground and her husband brutally murdered, forcing her to flee through the night to find safety for her children.
“When the army attacked our village, they arrested all the men,” she said. “My husband was among them.
“I had heard that the army had mutilated his body,” Anwara recalled, her eyes red with tears. “I went to the city to verify the news and collect his body if necessary.”
“I was horrified. I verified it was him, and then I fled.”
Early the next morning, Anwara gathered her seven children and ran to the Naf River, which separates Myanmar from Bangladesh. On one side was the certainty of danger and death, on the other an uncertain safety.
Day and night, the desperate family hid among grazing cattle on the grassy riverbanks. Finally, at 2 a.m., Anwara traded her gold earrings for her family’s passage before squeezing onto a small boat crowded with 35 others.
Anwara and her children now live at Camp Leda in the southeast corner of Bangladesh, just a few miles from the life she shared with her husband and community. There, she had her own house, many goats, and seven cows. At Leda, she has nothing—just a black tarp “house” and small rations of food aid.
“I left everything behind to find safety in Bangladesh,” she said. “Now everything is gone, but my children are well.”
Every night Anwara is haunted by the memories of her home and husband, but she wakes each morning with renewed faith in God and the humanitarian agencies like ADRA that continue to support her.