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Humanitarian aid for Rohingya families

by BRAC USA
Humanitarian aid for Rohingya families
Humanitarian aid for Rohingya families
Humanitarian aid for Rohingya families
Humanitarian aid for Rohingya families
Humanitarian aid for Rohingya families
Humanitarian aid for Rohingya families
Humanitarian aid for Rohingya families
Humanitarian aid for Rohingya families
Humanitarian aid for Rohingya families
Humanitarian aid for Rohingya families
Humanitarian aid for Rohingya families
Humanitarian aid for Rohingya families
Humanitarian aid for Rohingya families
Humanitarian aid for Rohingya families
Humanitarian aid for Rohingya families
Humanitarian aid for Rohingya families
Humanitarian aid for Rohingya families
Humanitarian aid for Rohingya families
Humanitarian aid for Rohingya families
Humanitarian aid for Rohingya families
Humanitarian aid for Rohingya families

Gender-based violence is an ongoing challenge in the camps and settlements of Cox’s Bazar. According to a BBC study late last year, unhealthy practices persist in the community around gender and marriage, including child marriage and intimate partner violence.

But that is changing -- and a new program aims to involve men as part of the solution.

Working together with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), BRAC is spearheading a new initiative in the camps and settlements to engage men as leaders in the fight against gender-based violence.

Leveraging an internationally recognized model used to combat gender-based violence, known as the Bystander to Role Model approach, men are equipping each other with the tools and knowledge they need to act as role models to the wider community and stop gender-based violence.

The program includes more than 100 men who are taking the lead in fighting sexual and gender-based violence, speaking weekly about a variety of topics including positive masculinity, child marriage, and polygamy. 

Built on a community-based model, the men in the program first undertake a series of trainings that equip them with the skills and knowledge they need to educate other men about gender-based violence. They then go on to become role models to other members of the community.

The overall goal is to enable young men to move from passive bystanders to empowered role models, who can confront abusive peers, support people who are abused, and ultimately stop gender-based violence in the community.

Maulana, a Rohingya man and member of the role model program, reflects upon the progress that he has seen:

“I have witnessed first-hand how child marriage has decreased in the camps, along with domestic violence and other forms of gender-based violence.”

Thank you for your commitment to building long-term skills, resilience, and knowledge for displaced Rohingya people. Your ongoing support powers innovative new solutions to persistent challenges faced by Rohingya refugees in the camps and settlements of Cox’s Bazar, like gender-based violence. Together, we can ensure Rohingya women and girls live in a safe, healthy, and dignified community.

Young refugees at the Storytellers training
Young refugees at the Storytellers training

Shamim* is a 21-year-old refugee who fled his home in Myanmar in 2017. Now he lives with his older brother in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, in the largest refugee camp in the world. Known by his friends and peers for his positivity, he always has a smile on his face. 

Shamim believes that education is one of the most important things in life, and compares the lack of one to having a head without a body. Because of this belief, he provides free, private tutoring to young Rohingya men in his community during his spare time.

Shamim’s story is just one of nearly 900,000 unique stories of hope and resilience in Cox’s Bazar, many of which have gone untold.

“Rohingya people have seen so many things and our situation is so different,” said Hasina,* a 22-year-old Rohingya woman, when asked about her experience as a refugee. “I want to be understood from my own words and photos. I have so much to share about my people.”

To ensure these stories do not remain untold, BRAC partnered with the World Food Program to train young Rohingya refugees on digital communications. Through the Storytellers project, 30 Rohingya women and men participated in trainings on storytelling principles, digital photography, social media, and filmmaking with mobile phones.

Now, Rohingya youth like Hasina and Shamim can share their stories and experiences from their own perspective. The initiative enables trainees to amplify their voices and the voices of others in their community, all while developing valuable technical skills in communication.

Training youth as digital storytellers is just one way BRAC is supporting people affected by the crisis. What began as a lifesaving emergency in Cox’s Bazar has transitioned to a humanitarian intervention for the more than 500,000 refugees that BRAC now supports. With new skills that can help build sustainable livelihoods, BRAC aims to develop individual resilience and strong communities.

For example, a new artisan tailoring training program connects Rohingya and host community women to Aarong, a BRAC social enterprise and leading lifestyle brand that stocks ethically-made products. Thousands of Rohingya men and women are being trained in demand-driven skills, which also include solar installation and mobile phone servicing.

Last month, the international community marked World Refugee Day. By the end of 2018, a record number of people — 70.8 million — had been uprooted from their homes due to war, persecution, or violence. It has never been more critical to stand with refugees. 

Thank you for your continued support of communities affected by crisis. With every dollar you donate, you create opportunity for people like Hasina and Shamim to learn new skills, share their stories, and rebuild their lives.

*Names have been changed to preserve anonymity.

Links:

Monsoon season is approaching in Cox’s Bazar, which means the arrival of strong winds, heavy rainfall, and powerful cyclones. Our staff are working around the clock to prepare for this dangerous weather through comprehensive, multi-sectoral disaster reduction work.

To keep families safe, we have reinforced nearly 8,000 shelters to make them more resistant to damage from torrential rains and landslides. We also continue to relocate households that are at risk of landslides or flooding, and we are piloting transitional shelter options, such as flat pack shelters and stilt homes. Should disaster strike, we have also developed evacuation schemes to help people leave affected areas quickly and safely.

A trained and dedicated team of 1,000 Rohingya community mobilization volunteers spends every day traveling door-to-door in the camps, delivering messages on monsoon and cyclone preparedness, public health and safety, and more. These volunteers have conducted nearly 10,000 awareness meetings to prepare their community for the monsoon.

We are strengthening the overall camp infrastructure, reinforcing latrines, upgrading facilities, repairing roads, and digging water channels in preparation for heavy rains. To restore the natural environment and reduce the risk of floods and landslides, we have planted more than 140,000 fast-growing and deep-rooted trees, 30,000 shrubs, and millions of grass seedlings. These plants will help stabilize the environment and protect Rohingya and host communities.

We have retrofitted 20 cyclone shelters across the host communities, and conducted nearly 10,000 awareness meetings to prepare families for when disaster strikes.

We are grateful for your continued support. Together, we will ensure that Rohingya families can continue to access the services they deserve, throughout monsoon season.

Links:

Photo: BRAC / Emily Coppel
Photo: BRAC / Emily Coppel

“We women, we give birth to life. Let us live ours in peace.”

The Rohingya refugee population is among the most vulnerable in the world. And, in the densely populated settlements of Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh where over 900,000 Rohingya reside, women and girls are particularly vulnerable to sexual and gender-based violence.

Many victims already cope with emotional trauma from the violence they faced prior to arriving at the settlements. Many also fear coming forward, in part due to the social stigma attached to sexual and gender-based violence.

In an effort to counteract that stigma, BRAC is taking a community-based approach to combating sexual and gender-based violence in Rohingya settlements.

Recently, we partnered with the United Nations and other local humanitarian organizations to advocate against gender-based violence. In our “16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence” campaign, Rohingya women, men, boys, and girls from across Cox’s Bazar came together to raise awareness of and call for an end to violence against women and girls. BRAC also engaged nearly 20,000 men and boys in sexual and gender-based violence trainings in order to raise awareness and stop the cycle.

In addition, we now operate eight women-friendly spaces and eight community centers in Cox’s Bazar. These centers provide a wide range of services, including psychosocial counseling; legal support; community education on topics like health, hygiene, and women’s rights; and training in skills such as literacy, tailoring, and handicrafts. Over 1,100 women have accessed psychosocial support in the spaces.

The women-friendly spaces, known as shanti khana or “places of peace,” also help establish a sense of community. They are a place to learn and heal.

“I come here to talk to the other women, and spend time with the young girls,” said Layla,* a 21-year-old Rohingya woman. Nearly 500 women like Layla attend the shanti khana daily.

Your donations ensure that our 2,600+ staff in Cox’s Bazar can continue to provide these critical services. Thank you for your support of women and girls.

Photo: Inter-Sector Coordination Group
Photo: Inter-Sector Coordination Group

Links:

Children attending the new Learning Center
Children attending the new Learning Center

Imagine your favorite teacher growing up. Did you feel valued in their class? Were they attentive to your needs? Did they make learning fun?

Unfortunately, many Rohingya children have never experienced a supportive, engaging learning environment like the one many of us had. In the crowded refugee settlements in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, less than one third of the more than 500,000 children are in school.

But that is changing in BRAC’s more than 500 Learning Centers and Child-Friendly Spaces.

For many Rohingya children, this is their first chance to be in a learning environment where teachers are attentive to their needs. For some, it is also their first opportunity to access education at all.

Now, after opening the first two-story Learning Center in Kutupalong camp, Cox’s Bazar last month, 240 more children will join the nearly 70,000 BRAC is already serving.

Standing 39 feet-high and constructed of bamboo and other sustainable, locally-sourced materials, the new Learning Center is a feat of architecture. Thoughtfully designed by architects from BRAC University, the building incorporates Rohingya architectural traditions and sits two feet above the ground to avoid flooding during the extreme weather patterns the region is prone to.

Similar to BRAC Learning Centers in other regions, the new two-story structure will offer basic primary education for children aged 4-14, with an emphasis on learning through structured, play-based activities. The curriculum focuses on basic math, science, and literacy in Burmese and English, as well as life skills, physical play, rhymes, and stories.

Each session in a BRAC Learning Center is jointly led by women from the Rohingya community and women from the Bangladeshi host community, who speak a dialect of Bengali similar to the Rohingya language. This model trains and empowers Rohingya women and promotes person-to-person peacebuilding between the communities, which is critical in addressing tensions that are arising over strained resources.

Learning Centers also provide holistic support for Rohingya children, incorporating child protection measures, linkages to health and nutrition services, and parenting sessions to engage families in their children’s educations. They offer comprehensive psychosocial support for children and families through group sessions and individual home visits conducted by over 230 barefoot counselors and 40 para-counselors.

Thanks to your generous support, tens of thousands of little learners in Cox’s Bazar now access our comprehensive education and protection services.

But still, nearly 350,000 children in the settlements lack access to education. We want to do more. That is why we have set an ambitious goal to reach at least 100,000 learners by 2019.

Donate or spread the word to help us make sure no child is left behind.

Thank you for ensuring that every Rohingya child has the chance to build a better future.

View from the second story of the Learning Center
View from the second story of the Learning Center

Links:

 

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Organization Information

BRAC USA

Location: New York, NY - USA
Website:
Project Leader:
Matt Kertman
New York, NY United States
$45,115 raised of $50,000 goal
 
279 donations
$4,885 to go
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