Hope stands still


Abhinav Kaul & Furquan A. Siddiqui

Various Chin families live in the Vikaspuri neighbourhood of New Delhi. Ngaih Chung, a 79 year old lady came to India in 2008 along with her family to escape from the atrocities by the Burmese army. In similar manner, Ngun Nei Lang ran away when some soldiers tried to rape her. She now lives in a small room with her family earning livelihood by cooking Burmese snacks.

After the military crackdown in 1988 in Burma, many Chin people crossed border into India. The widespread killings, rape and religious persecution left scores of people dead in the Chin state of Myanmar.

Barely managing their survival, these Burmese refugees live in inhumane conditions. A single room of not more than four square meters is shared by two or three families.

A free clinic run by a Burmese doctor, a community church, self help groups are some of the few niceties that they are open to. A rather closely knit community and with minimum of interaction with the locals, these people help out each other in whatever way possible.

Unknown and unwanted, these refugees face a lot of discrimination from the local community, especially women with no one to complain to. Without the government’s help, life is a big struggle for them.

Extreme poverty has forced most of the Burmese refugees to share their room with other families

Often, only one person supports one or two families due to lack of employment opportunities

Children stay in house or play outside all day long as schools refuse to give them admissions

According to estimates, over 7000 Burmese refugees are living in Delhi

Ngaih Chung left Burma when the army tried to recruit her seven sons forcefully

Army tortured Thawng Tin Lian when he helped a monk to escape during the protests in 2009. He ran away when the army threatened to take both his son

Language acts as a barrier for these people to find jobs outside

With little help from the government the community finds support within community itself

Dr. Tint Swe runs a free medical clinic in Vikaspuri, the only healthcare facility they can avail

People waiting for their turn outside the clinic

Children sleeping in a creche for refugees managed by YMCA

The school run by YMCA is the only access to education for these kids

With little prospect for future, Jojo left Burma looking for better opportunities

It’s a huge relief for these Burmese youth who have escaped oppression and forced army induction

Hamen Kuihan, a widow of a rebel from Chin National Front has a tough time making her ends meet

Just like Hamen Kuihan, many burmese women earn upto 1000 rupees by selling their traditional handicraft

Ngun Nei Lang lives with her husband in a tiny room making Burmese snacks for a living

It is a huge relief for these Burmese youth who have escaped oppression and forced army service

After a hard day’s work, these youngsters get together, strum some tune and enjoy.

Beyond misfortune and despair there lies a glimmer of hope

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~ by furquansid on April 25, 2010.

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