Meet two grantees of the Disaster Recovery Network at GlobalGiving. They’re bringing essential services to Rohingya refugees who are facing dismal conditions in camps with little hope of returning home.
The end of August marks one year since more than 700,000 Rohingya people from Western Myanmar were violently cast from their homes and from their country. Facing coordinated, systematic, and brutal military attacks, hundreds of thousands of Rohingya families fled into Bangladesh. The Kutupalong settlement in Cox’s Bazar formed almost overnight.
Hardship and uncertainty is a daily reality for the Rohingya who now find themselves in an unfamiliar country, in crowded and risky conditions. The monsoon season in Bangladesh is now in full swing, which has made living conditions in the Kutupalong settlement and adjacent camps all the more treacherous. The risk for cholera and other infectious disease outbreaks is high in the camps, where there is a shortage of toilets and safe drinking water.
More than 1,300 GlobalGiving donors have answered the call to help Rohingya refugees over the last year, making it possible for the Disaster Recovery Network at GlobalGiving to be a reliable partner to community-led nonprofits addressing some of the most urgent needs in and around Cox’s Bazar.
So far, we’ve awarded eight grants totaling $225,000 to six vetted, high-impact nonprofits that are serving Rohingya refugees. As the political leaders of Bangladesh and Myanmar struggle to arrange for the safe, secure, and dignified return of the Rohingya people to their country, GlobalGiving and its partners remain committed to working hand in hand with Rohingya people for a better life.
Dr. Iftikher Mahmood was born and raised in Cox’s Bazar. And he’s now determined to help Rohingya mothers and children stay healthy. His nonprofit, HOPE Foundation for Women & Children of Bangladesh, operates a hospital, health centers, and a small fleet of ambulances in Cox’s Bazar. When Rohingya refugees were pushed from their homes into refugee camps, it was a natural fit for the organization to provide lifesaving maternal care in the Kutupalong settlement and nearby areas.
The foundation serves more than 1,500 Rohingya patients every day.
“We have been there for a long time, and have a solid team of dedicated, passionate people who moved very quickly. We know the community, the local people, and the language,” said Dr. Mahmood. “No one else is doing what we’re doing—maternal health, building a maternity hospital, training midwives—we have a huge responsibility to stay engaged.”
Bala-bura means good-bad in Rohingya. In conversation, it’s similar to saying “how are you: good or bad?” The phrase is also the name of an audio program for Rohingya refugees.
A team of 20 Rohingya refugees produce the program in partnership with Internews. The nonprofit is dedicated to providing Rohingya refugees with reliable access to lifesaving information. Rumors and misinformation spread quickly in the camps, where tensions between refugees in cramped, dirty conditions, as well as between refugees and Bangladeshis, can easily flare.
The refugees who produce Bala-Bura address issues in the camp, like how to deal with monsoon season, and interview fellow refugees in order to pass along their concerns to humanitarian organizations.
“I feel happy that you ask how I’m doing. I don’t get to share my thoughts and ideas often,” a Rohingya mother of seven recently told Internews.
Bala-Bura is one of several information sharing programs that Internews is working on. They also distribute a paper bulletin to keep data flowing in the camps and fund a radio program that brings together 12 correspondents—half of whom are Rohingya, half of whom are Bangladeshi—to discuss issues affecting refugees and host communities.
You can help meet urgent needs with a donation today to GlobalGiving’s Rohingya Refugee Relief Fund. Your donation will be sent to GlobalGiving partners on the front lines of the crisis.
Featured Banner Photo: More than 700,000 Rohingya refugees have fled to Bangladesh over the last year to escape violence in Myanmar. Photo by Humanitarian Aid for Rohingya Families
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