January 27th

Photo courtesy Alejandro Alas, Unsplash!


KHAMAL is the name of a young Rohingyan boy; Rohingya
is a community of Muslims that once lived in a country called Myanmar, and Myanmar is in Southeast Asia below China. 

     Khamal is 10-years-old. He makes kites by using things he finds: old plastic bags, small tree branches for the cross pieces, pieces of old cloth for the tails, and string.  The hardest part of making his kites is finding the string. It takes 30 or 40 feet (about 12 meters of string) to fly a kite. Sometimes he uses old colorful soda bottles for handles to wind the string around. After he finds everything he needs (which can take a whole day), it only takes Khamal 20-30 minutes to make a kite. No one taught Khamal how to make kites (not even the internet). He taught himself how to make them. 

     Khamal makes 4 or 5 kites every week and gives them away to other children living in his refugee camp. Five years ago, he and his family fled into a forest to hide from government soldiers sent to drive away all Muslim people in the country. When they came back, all the houses in their community were burned to the ground. That’s when Khamal and his family moved to Bangladesh to a refugee camp. And that’s when Khamal taught himself how to make kites to give to other children to make them happy.

     Early each morning Khamal helps his father find firewood. Then, for 2 hours, he goes to school in the camp.  After that, he becomes the “Kite Boy” making kites. When he tests a new kite all the children follow him. He gives each new kite to someone who doesn’t have one. And then, once again, Khamal feels happy

Editor’s note: We were not able to find a public domain photo of Khamal, however, if you Google “Fayes Khamal, kite boy” you will quickly find the story and see photos of a boy whose face totally captivates you with its joy.

—Story first heard on NPR.

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