Food, Water and Shelter for the Silent Refugees
Every year, thousands of people from South Asian countries are forced to flee their homes because of persecution and conflict and enter India in search of a safe life. When victims of such violence are women and children, the exploitation is compounded by their vulnerability. They live a life of fear, humiliation and trauma and their only escape is to leave behind everything so that they could just live in a safe environment. Despite the scale of this crisis, many refugee groups remain unnoticed. Their needs are escalating, and their voices fall on deaf ears.
Today, lakhs of such “Silent’ refugees who have fled Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, are living in scattered camp and non-camp settings all over India, and few in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, striving to integrate into the mainstream for the last six decades.
“I met a family that came to India on March 18th, 2020. All they have is a legitimate desire like you and me to live a good life, and they have a potential to fight the odds,” said Kiran Chukkapalli.
On November 5th, 2020, Kiran Chukkapalli, an avid social activist, and founder of Think Peace Organization embarked on a three-month motorcycle ride across India, all by himself, covering more than 10,000 km across the length and breadth of India from Kanyakumari through Gujarat, Delhi, Arunachal Pradesh and back to Kanyakumari on 26th January, 2020. The goal of the journey was to meet refugees living in different parts of India, understand the extent of their crisis, unveil their stories, and understand their issues.
“To know, understand and acknowledge the problem is the first step towards a change. Our goal is to focus on the refugees whose suffering rarely makes international headlines,” said Kiran Chukkapalli.