Shumon, Rassel and Ramzan enjoying a spot of afternoon cricket in the play park next to our centre.
The Restless Beings Rehab Centre and Home (RBRCH) is located in Mohammedpur, one of the oldest districts within the city. Home to many of the city's oldest medical and educational institutes, it is also home to the largest Bihari camp outside of Pakistan or India.
In the fallout of the 1971 Liberation War, the Bangladesh Government allocated a large space within the district of Mohammedpur for the Bihari refugees. Biharis are an ethnic race originating from West Bengal and after the liberation war, the Indian and Pakistani government refused repatriation to the Biharis leaving them stranded in a country they did not regard as their home.
While the Bangladeshi government allowed the Biharis refugee status, the general public somewhat shunned them with barriers such as diet and language cited as reasons. Another subset of the complex Dhaka community that is often sidelined and marginalised are the street children that we are working with at the RestlessBeings Dhaka Project 1. Speaking a more 'street and urban' version of the standard language and eating with such zeal and enthusiasm, they are often looked down upon by the mainstream society as squalid, unruly and uncivilized.
So it is interesting to see what happens when on a Tuesday and Thursday afternoon, our centre kids make their way to the play park which is next to our centre, and to see how they are received by other children in the park. As to be expected, we normally see middle class children who have been warned away from street children, playing in isolated circles away from our kids. So what happens when the Bihari meet our street children? No common language, different approaches to life, not even the same types of games commonly played…. rather than writing a heap of words about what happens, you know the old adage, pictures say a thousand words.... :)