The unique makeup of Rohingya Muslim girls and women in Bangladesh

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    Reuters photographer Clodagh Kilcoyne has created a series of portraits of Rohingya Muslim girls and women in refugee camps in southern Bangladesh, capturing their striking traditional makeup.

    Rohingya refugee Amina poses for a photograph as she wears thanaka paste at Kutupalong camp in Cox's Bazaar, BangladeshImage copyright Reuters

    Rohingya refugee girl named Rufia Begum, aged 9, poses for a photograph as she wears thanaka paste at Balukhali camp in Cox's Bazaar, BangladeshImage copyright Reuters

    Rohingya refugee Shamima, aged 10, poses for a photograph as she wears thanaka paste at Jamtoli camp in Cox's Bazaar, BangladeshImage copyright Reuters

    More than 700,000 Rohingya people have fled the destruction of their homes and persecution in the northern Rakhine province of Myanmar (Burma) for neighbouring Bangladesh since August 2017.

    The Rohingya, who numbered around one million in Myanmar at the start of 2017, are one of the many ethnic minorities in the country.

    Myanmar’s military says it is fighting Rohingya militants and denies targeting civilians.

    Rohingya refugee Laila Begum, aged 23, poses for a photograph as she wears thanaka paste at Balukhali camp in Cox's Bazaar, BangladeshImage copyright Reuters

    Kilcoyne photographed the Rohingya Muslim girls and women in refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, a city on the south-east coast of Bangladesh.

    Rohingya refugee Senuara Begum, aged 14, poses for a photograph as she wears thanaka paste at Jamtoli camp in Cox's Bazaar, BangladeshImage copyright Reuters

    The makeup is called thanaka, a yellow paste made from the ground bark of a tree found in the dry central parts of Myanmar, and is used to decorate the cheeks of the women and girls in a tradition dating back centuries.

    Rohingya refugee Romzida, aged 8, poses for a photograph as she wears thanaka paste at Shamlapur camp in Cox's Bazaar, BangladeshImage copyright Reuters

    As well as a cosmetic, the paste acts as a protection against the strong sun, whilst keeping their skin cool.

    Rohingya refugee Zinu Ara, aged 4, poses for a photograph as she wears thanaka paste at Balukhali camp in Cox's Bazaar, BangladeshImage copyright Reuters

    The swirls of yellow paste dry into a protective layer and is an insect-repellent and helps treat acne.

    Rohingya refugee Nur Kayas, aged 6, poses for a photograph as she wears thanaka paste at Kutupalong camp in Cox's Bazaar, BangladeshImage copyright Reuters

    The traditional makeup, which can be bought in the refugee camps, has brought a sense of normality to the lives of the Rohingya Muslim girls and women.

    Rohingya refugee Sufaida, aged 7, poses for a photograph as she wears thanaka paste at Kutupalong camp in Cox's Bazaar, BangladeshImage copyright Reuters

    Juhara Begum, 13, seen below, told Kilcoyne: “The makeup is my hobby, and it’s our tradition.

    “The military fired guns and slaughtered us. I live on top of the hill and it is too hot with the strong sun.”

    Rohingya refugee Juhara Begum, aged 13, poses for a photograph as she wears thanaka paste at Jamtoli camp in Cox's Bazaar, BangladeshImage copyright Reuters

    Begum arrived in Cox’s Bazar in September last year after fleeing a military attack on her village in Rakhine.

    She had to walk for five days to reach the safety of the border and the crowded refugee camp of Jamtoli.

    “I can live without eating rice but I cannot live without makeup,” said Begum.

    Rohingya refugee Toyuba, aged 18, poses for a photograph as she wears thanaka paste at Kutupalong camp in Cox's Bazaar, BangladeshImage copyright Reuters

    Zannat Ara, nine, seen below, from Kutupalong refugee camp, said: “I wear makeup to keep my face clean and there are some insects that bite my face and this keeps them away, so this protects me.”

    Rohingya refugee Zannat Ara, aged 9, poses for a photograph as she wears thanaka paste at Kutupalong camp in Cox's Bazaar, BangladeshImage copyright Reuters

    Rohingya refugee girl poses for a photograph as she wears thanaka paste at Shamlapur camp in Cox's Bazaar, BangladeshImage copyright Reuters

    Photos by Clodagh Kilcoyne.

    View the original article: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/in-pictures-44873358

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/in-pictures-44873358

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