Kamal Hossain was two years old when his family fled Rakhine, Myanmar in the 1980s to find shelter in Bangladesh. Despite having lived in the country for more than 30 years now, he is still a refugee with no place to call his own. Hence, when lakhs and lakhs of Rohingya refugees started heading towards Bangladesh to escape violence, Kamal understood their suffering better than perhaps anyone else could have.
As if losing everything they possess and being displaced is not enough, refugees also lose their loved ones on their dangerous journey to Bangladesh. One day, after witnessing a mother frantically searching for her lost son, Kamal decided to make reuniting the refugees with their relatives/loved ones his mission. That is why he spent all his monthly income on setting up Lost and Found booth in Cox's Bazar. Talking about that decision to Dhaka Tribune, he said,
“I don’t need much in life. I am a registered refugee, so I get rations from the government and don’t need to buy food for my family. We have a little something to go by, but these new refugees — they have nothing. That is why I spent all of my salary to help those people.”
He has set up the Lost and Found booth with a microphone, two sound boxes, table, and workbook in a bamboo tent. Apart from working as a security guard at Handicap International, an NGO, he also runs the booth from 8.30 am to 11 pm. Having made announcements about more than 1,500 missing people, Kamal has successfully reunited 742 refugees at the camp. Kamal's brother Nazir Ahmed also helps out at the booth when Kamal gets busy.
According to a UNICEF report from a few weeks ago, around 2,00,000 of the Rohingya refugees are children and more than 10,000 of them are unaccompanied or orphans. With approximately 10,000 refugees still fleeing the atrocities in Rakhine, Kamal's Lost and Found booth is more important than ever before. Nur Nahar, a woman who was trying to find her five-year-old daughter Rojina, told Al Jazeera,
"I lost my husband on August 25 and now I have lost my daughter. I could blame the army for the killing of my husband but who do I blame for losing my daughter? It's me who lost a daughter, and bearing this pain is killing me every moment."
Kamal finds more and more happiness with each family he reunites.