As of April nearly 700,000 people have crossed the border of Myanmar and Bangladesh entering into Cox’s Bazaar – one of the world’s largest refugee camps. Of these people, a large proportion are women and children. Concern has been primarily given to attending on the immediate needs of these people and making sure that they have access to water, food and shelter. The hygiene needs of women and girls are therefore often not addressed.
However, attending to the hygiene needs of women is an issue that should be addressed. This is especially important given, for example, that something as simple as menstruation can affect the participation of women and girls in communities and can increase their risk to gender-based violence in refugee camps. In camps refugee women lack access to sanitary products, safe and hygienic ways to dispose of sanitary waste, and safe washing facilities. Inability to access these basic goods impacts the welfare of women and girls within refugee camps in a number of ways. For example, if they lack access to sanitary products women and girls may be unable to work or attend school when menstruating due to an inability to afford sanitary products and the cultural taboos surrounding menstruation.Further, lack of access to sanitary products and safe disposal facilities means that women often wait until night to dispose of sanitary waste and clean themselves. In the darkness they are at an increased risk from gender-based violence.
Global One has been addressing this issue through its Dignity Kits for Rohingya Refugee Women campaign. Through this campaign Global One have provided dignity kits to refugee women and girls at menstrual age. So far Global One has made two distributions in Camp-8, Kutupalong, Ukhiya, Cox’s Bazar. These distributions have benefitted 35 women and girls and contributed to the recognition of their right to dignity.
The kits distributed contained: shampoo and conditioner; toothpaste and toothbrush; comb; flannel; clothes washing soap; household cleaner; and menstrual pads. These simple items, that we often take for granted can have a huge impact on the lives of refugee women and girls. Providing refugee women and girls at menstrual age with these basic items can reduce their risk to gender-based violence and empower them within their communities by recognising their dignity.
Global One would like to take this opportunity to say thank you for your contribution so far. The donations that we have received have enabled us to help and empower refugee women and girls through the provision of our dignity kits.