Sports as coping mechanism for Rohingya girls at EU Social Hub in Cox’s Bazar
Rohingya girls participate in various activities and games such as parcheesi and marbles. One of the most popular is the carrom board, a popular tabletop game in Bangladesh, where players use their fingers to strike small discs into in any four pockets of the board.
The schedule allocates sessions for Rohingya girls three days a week, but most come to the hub almost every day.
Farima speaks for the group.
“We really enjoy the life-skill sessions, like capacity building,” she said.
The group seems like a chatty, friendly bunch of fourteen to nineteen-year-olds.
But some amid them are painfully shy, including twelve-year-old Yasmina.
When asked about her favourite sessions at the hub, she smiles bashfully before relapsing into silence.
After some coaxing by her friend Aisha, Yasmina plucks up the courage to say that she likes skipping with her friends.
She gingerly goes to the hub’s games room, where the facilitator helps her reach up to the topmost shelf and retrieve a skipping rope – perhaps one of the few forms of exercise that can be taken by girls and young women in the refugee camps.
The appearance of the rope prompts all the girls to join in and before long there is a sudden eruption of activity.
They race each other to grab more skipping ropes and spill out into the hub’s backyard.
Everywhere there are girls jumping rope, sometimes two to four together. They sing rhymes as they skip, and perform complex tricks involving twirling around mid-jump.
Yasmina is in her element, suddenly fierce and standing her ground with the other girls when she feels things are not fair.
But mostly she just jumps or twirls the rope, laughing and singing along with the others, belting out rhymes as loudly as she can.
Disclaimer: Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.
This UNICEF programme supported by the European Union Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP) aims to enhance peaceful co-existence among adolescents and youth, to strengthen social cohesion and bridge gaps between Rohingya and Bangladeshi communities. You can download a digital brochure and poster of the project here.
This publication was produced with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of UNICEF and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.