Will name it ‘Survival’ if any film made on Rohingya kids: Priyanka

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Help these kids; blame game creates more hatreds and animosities, she says

Acting, singing, producing film, painting and philanthropy - you name it, Priyanka Chopra, the former Miss World, has already done it.

Priyanka, also Goodwill Ambassador of Unicef, feels so blessed after visiting Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar and meeting helpless Rohingya children.

And if she gets an opportunity to make a film on the Rohingya children and deprived children all over the world, she wants to name it “Survival.”

“I would call it survival,” Priyanka said before leaving Dhaka after wrapping up her four-day Bangladesh visit when she was asked if she ever gets to make a film on these children who are deprived what she would name it.

She said she has become a producer recently and has so far produced eight-nine films. “As a producer, my intention is to give an opportunity to new talents.”

Priyanka indicated that she might write stories someday out of her inspiration and experiences from Unicef but at the moment she is giving opportunity to others to tell the stories as a producer.

“As I travel back from Cox’s Bazar to Los Angeles…the only thing on my mind is how much privilege I have been blessed with. I thank each person who has contributed to making my life so blessed,” she wrote on her Instagram account.

Priyanka said she is grateful for all that she has and will always be on a quest to make life at least a little easier for as many as she can. “I thank God for having the ability to do so.”

“I’m so moved by this Unicef field trip to the Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh. To witness the incredible strength it takes just to survive,” said Priyanka.

She said the fight for “survival” is so primal. “I’m humbled to have witnessed it,” Priyanka said urging all to help Rohingya children and see what they can do for the children of the world.

As the Unicef Goodwill Ambassador, Priyanka Chopra has called for more global action and support for vulnerable Rohingya children and women urging all to open their hearts with compassion.

“Every child deserves a future. Every child deserves an opportunity to contribute to humanity. Please be sympathetic and treat these children as your own,” said the Bollywood actress.

Terming her Cox’s Bazar visit one of her most life-changing trips that she has made along with Unicef, Priyanka said it is heartening to see the immense support that has been provided by the government of Bangladesh.

More than 100,000 people including approximately 55,000 children, mostly Rohingyas, are at risk due to floods and landslides in Cox’s Bazar district which is one of the most flood prone areas of Bangladesh.

If we count Unicef estimate, it is possible that this figure could go up to 200,000 people depending on the intensity of rains. Unicef said they need US$10 million to fund their monsoon response. So far, they have raised US$5.9 million.

During monsoon season, which lasts from June to September, the overall health and wellbeing of Rohingya refugee children is affected.

Responding to a UNB question on her message to Myanmar, Priyanka said, “I’m here on behalf of children. I’m too small, I feel, to speak about political situation like this. I’m not someone who believes in a blame game. I think that creates more hatreds and animosities.”

Priyanka said she would rather look at the future and see, instead of focusing on the violence of the past and responding with anger to hatreds. “I think it’s important to focus on the future of these kids. And put our positivity on that direction.”

Asked whether she will convince Indian government to help Bangladesh more instead of Myanmar, she said the day she will become a politician, she will do all that. “But right now I’m the Goodwill Ambassador of Unicef when I’ll become a prime minister, you watch…”

Responding to another question, she said, this is a political problem and they do not have the answer to political problems because they do not have those powers. “Child is a child. It’s a responsibility for all. These children have nothing.”

“After seeing the distressing images of the Rohingya crisis unfolding last year, being here and meeting the children and families affected has helped me better understand the enormity of this crisis,” said Priyanka adding that she is taking back their shining smiles.

Nearly 60 per cent of the more than 700,000 refugees, entered since August 25, 2017, are children, living in desperately difficult conditions – with limited access to permanent shelter, clean and safe water, food and education.

Priyanka also journeyed to the border area near Myanmar where hundreds of thousands of Rohingya women, children and men crossed following the escalation of violence in August 2017.

In a nutrition centre in Jamtoli makeshift settlement, Priyanka saw children being screened for malnutrition.

With 163,295 children under the age of five living in the camps, and an average 60 babies being born every day, nutrition centres offer a vital lifeline by screening and treating children for malnourishment and teaching new mothers breastfeeding practices to help make sure their babies have the best possible start in life during the critical first 1000-day period.

Priyanka then visited a Unicef-supported learning centre at Balukhali where she actively participated in lessons, games and songs and learned about the challenges in providing Rohingya children with education.

She said no matter where a child is from or what his or her circumstances are, every child is the future of this world. “And it is up to us, as global citizens, to make sure they have a future. Please support the aid organizations that are on the ground like Unicef that help in providing sufficient schools and teachers in these camps and settlements and appropriate materials and curricula.”

“Without education and learning opportunities Rohingya children will quickly become a lost generation. Education cannot wait,” she said.

The government of Bangladesh has generously taken in more than 700,000 Rohingya refugees since August 25, 2017 already and has been working with Unicef to deliver life-saving support to the most recent and previous influxes of Rohingya refugees.

Bangladesh currently has a Rohingya population, which is far more than Bhutan’s entire population. Bhutan has around 800,000 people whereas Bangladesh had to give shelter to some 1.2 million Rohingyas.

  • Issue 47

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