Rohingya refugee Onaisah Mohamad Harun expertly explains her father’s extensive drug and dosing regimen and complex schedule of doctors’ appointments for his cancer treatment. She knows it by heart. He was diagnosed with advanced oral cancer in 2019. The ensuing chemotherapy and radiotherapy, as well as multiple surgeries to his mouth and various other medical complications, left him hospitalized for months on end in the following years.
While Onaisah’s mother juggled the demands of caregiving and managing the household, Onaisah rapidly became the primary manager of her father’s treatment regime. Onaisah attended a learning centre run by UNHCR’s NGO partner, the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation (TCF). This NGO also runs free clinics for refugees as well as provides support to UNHCR’s cash-based interventions for highly vulnerable refugees.
I was lucky that I have been attending the Tzu Chi school. When my father was diagnosed, I was able to ask my teachers about my father’s illness, and they also showed me how to do research.
Onaisah attended all the doctors’ appointments and then she started to memorize all the medical results, her father's medications and the scheduled treatments. When she didn’t understand something, she would ask her teachers or Sister Michele from TCF. With the help of the Tzu Chi school, Onaisah is able to help her father and now wants to be a doctor, who will give free treatment to people who cannot afford it. "This is the doctor I will be. I want to help people,” she says. See the full story here.