Earlier this week, the Burma Rohingya Organisation UK (BROUK) held a cultural interchange gathering at the Burma Campaign Office in Old Street, London. Every month the Burma Campaign Office holds these gatherings for all the ethnic groups of Burma to come together and learn about the different cultures. They believe that together the ethnic minorities of Burma are stronger, as Nant Bwa Bwa Phan (Burma Campaign Office volunteer) said at the start of the gathering "Burma is all of ours".
BROUK's president Tun Khin spoke about their history and how the origins of the Rohingya's dates back to the 8th century in the area of Arakan in Burma. They had a hand in the defining moments in shaping the history of Arakan from the Arab conquests to the British rule.
The culture of the Rohingyans is deeply treasured; much of their culture is influenced by the different people the Rohingyans encounter throughout their history such as the Burmese, Indians, Arabs and Persians. BROUK's Yasmin Ara, spoke about their daily life routines; the women are the early risers who collect water for the family, this also gives the women to get together and gossip! Their religious practices revolve around the Islamic practices such as the five daily prayers and Eid. The Rohingyan food is predominantly made of sticky rice, fruits and vegetables; meat is eaten only on special occasions- some great food was served in the conference too!
The conference was a break from the talks of the hardships of what the Rohingya people face, and instead the Rohingyans spoke of things which they are passionate about, the things which are at the very core of their culture beyond their sufferings. This undoubtedly makes one recognise them as a people rather than the most persecuted ethnic minority. All in all it leads to a great understanding of the Rohingya people.