Rohingya children hold objects they use as toys to play with in refugee camps in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar. (Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images)

A bottle cap, a spinner, a whistle or even a small AA battery. In the midst of an unprecedented refugee crisis, Rohingya children, who have fled with their families from their country to the relative safety of Bangladesh, continue to be children, seeking toys from discarded everyday objects.

Ed Jones, a photographer with Agence France-Presse, had first wanted to show what people — adults and children alike — had brought with them as they escaped a bloody crackdown by security forces in Burma, which is also called Myanmar. “I felt that anything that people bring with them, however small, in the midst of panic must not only have some interesting stories attached to them but might also serve to illustrate the urgency with which people left their homes,” Jones said. But, as he asked the people he was photographing, it turned out that no one had brought anything with them, “which, in itself, is sadly revealing,” he added.

Quickly, though, he noticed that while adults were often preoccupied with improving their living conditions in the camps, children were left to their own to keep busy. “As a father, I was interested to see how and subsequently noticed the rudimentary toys that they were playing with,” Jones said.

More than 600,000 Rohingya have fled Burma, according to the United Nations, and half of them are believed to be children.

For the AFP photographer, these toys show that “children are resourceful and mercifully adaptable,” he said, “but that this should never be taken for granted.”


Rohingya migrant girl Halima Khatun, 6, who arrived in Bangladesh in October, holds a whistle and a razor blade that she uses as toys at the Shamlapur refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar. (Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images)

Rohingya migrant boy Abi Asad, 3, who arrived in Bangladesh in October, holds a spinning toy at the Shamlapur refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar. (Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images)

Rohingya migrant boy Saiful Islam, 9, who fled Burma three years ago, holds a toy gun at the Shamlapur refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar. (Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images)

Rohingya migrant Hubaib, 3, whose mother was shot and killed in Burma before he fled to Bangladesh with his family, holds a toy at the Balukhali refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar. (Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images)

Rohingya migrant boy Mohammad Rafiq, 8, who fled Burma in October, holds a toy whistle at the Shamlapur refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar. (Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images)

Rohingya migrant boy Warish Shah, 3, who arrived in Bangladesh in September after his village was attacked, holds a pen knife with nail clippers that he plays with at the Thankhali refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar. (Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images)

Rohingya migrant girl Rokhsana Begum, 7, who arrived in Bangladesh in September, holds a small sieve that she uses to play in the sand at the Shamlapur refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar. (Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images)

Rohingya migrant boy Mohhamad Hussein, 10, who arrived in Bangladesh in October, holds a discarded syringe that he was playing with at the Thankhali refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar. (Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images)

Rohingya migrant boy Shahidul Amin, 5, who arrived in Bangladesh in September, holds a part of a bottle that he uses to play in the sand at the Thankhali refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar. (Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images)

Rohingya migrant boy Mohammad Rejuan, 10, who arrived in Bangladesh in mid-October, holds a whistle and a piece of plastic pipe, which he found at the Thankhali refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar. (Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images)

Rohingya migrant boy Mohammad Arafath, 4, who arrived in Bangladesh in early September, holds a mini toy trumpet at the Thankhali refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar. (Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images)

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