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Atlanta Aid Worker: Overwhelming Sense Of Hopelessness Hangs Over Rohingya Refugees

A Rohingya refugee woman is shown holding her son in November outside their shelter at Balukhali refugee camp near Cox's Bazar, in Bangladesh. On “All Things Considered,” Sandy Althomsons of Atlanta shared her experience working in Bangladesh as an aid worker with Doctors Without Borders.
A Rohingya refugee woman is shown holding her son in November outside their shelter at Balukhali refugee camp near Cox's Bazar, in Bangladesh. On “All Things Considered,” Sandy Althomsons of Atlanta shared her experience working in Bangladesh as an aid worker with Doctors Without Borders.
Credit Dar Yasin / Associated Press

Sandy Althomsons recently returned to Atlanta from Bangladesh where the epidemiologist spent three months working on water and sanitation issues at the world’s largest refugee camp.

The camp is made up mostly of Rohingya Muslims who fled their homeland of Myanmar after an uptick in violent persecution.

It was Althomsons’ fifth mission as an aid worker with Doctors Without Borders. As she explained to “All Things Considered” host Jim Burress, it was also her most difficult.

She tells Burress she’s sharing her experience out of hope “that compassion is just as contagious as the fear that is being spread about people who are forced from their homes.”