Rohingya girls find joy in elaborate makeup

Rohingya girls find joy in elaborate makeup

The dazzling displays of color emerge amid the mud and monsoon rains of Bangladesh’s refugee camps: vibrant flower headbands and elaborately-drawn makeup worn by young Rohingya girls.

These girls are among 700,000 Rohingya Muslims who were forced to flee their homes after the military in neighboring Myanmar launched a brutal campaign of violence against the minority group last year. Many left all their cherished belongings behind, and their new lives in the cramped, chaotic camps are devoid of luxuries.

But for the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Fitr, the girls decided to treat themselves to something special: makeovers. They bought makeup and headbands from vendors in the camps, hoping the adornments would help them look beautiful to relatives they visited during the holiday.

The girls say it can take them up to an hour to complete their look. But the process is one that brings them much-needed joy, given all they have endured.

Photos and Text by Wong Maye-E