Rohingya Refugee Relief Fund

by GlobalGiving
Rohingya Refugee Relief Fund
Photo: JAAGO Foundation
Photo: JAAGO Foundation

Though 2020 is coming to a close, its struggles are not, especially for the more than one million Rohingya refugees, many of whom are still living in Bangladeshi refugee camps three years after the initial crisis. Your support of the Rohingya community is more crucial—and more appreciated—than ever in these trying times. I’ll leave it to JAAGO Foundation founder Korvi Rakshand to share what it’s like to provide a safe haven for refugee children living in Bangladesh. 

What about JAAGO's work in support of Rohingya refugees are you most proud of? 

Every child deserves to have a normal life and a safe environment to grow up in. JAAGO is currently supporting almost 500 Rohingya children directly by providing them safe shelter and food, informal education and trauma management through play therapy. These kids had to go through severe trauma at an early age. They have seen so much cruelty and violence at a very young age. At least we could take a small step to help them and make them feel guarded. Even during the pandemic, we are trying to provide for them as much as we can. Three of our volunteers are working continuously with a group of eight to ten children so that they don’t feel alone. To be honest, there is a lot more to do, to take pride in..

In your view, how can donors best support Rohingya refugees? 

This is the time to get united. Given that many of our donors are facing financial issues themselves, it has been really difficult to get help from the outside, especially for children who are orphans; it's been a challenge even to provide them with nutritious food. We would really appreciate more help so we can appoint more people to come on board and continue our work maintaining social distancing. 

Since 2018, JAAGO has been able to support children in the Kutupalong refugee camp by boosting trauma management, cognitive understanding, social skills development, and conflict resolution, while also ensuring personal protection and proper hygiene. Thanks to your ongoing generosity, project leaders like Korvi are continuing to provide necessary aid to the Rohingya, making way for a better 2021. 

With gratitude, 

Shannon + the GlobalGiving Team

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Photo courtesy of ActionAid
Photo courtesy of ActionAid

As we mark the third anniversary of the launch of our Rohingya Refugee Relief Fund, we can’t help but be in awe of everything that your generosity has cultivated. In August 2017, the Myanmar military escalated its persecution of the Rohingya minority population. This sparked the displacement of more than one million refugees, primarily to Bangladesh. Since then, you and nearly 1,700 others have given more than $400,000 to provide refugees with medical clinics, food, hygiene kits, and education. Your support is more crucial now than ever, as COVID-19 continues to spread throughout refugee camps, where practices like social distancing are close to impossible.

Three years of solidarity

In a huge step forward for human rights, the United Nations International Court of Justice voted unanimously in January to order Myanmar to take action in preventing genocide. The legally binding ruling requires the Myanmar government to ensure that military and police forces don’t commit genocide, preserve evidence of genocidal acts, and report back on its compliance. 

Despite advances in preventing further harm to the Rohingya population, more than one million refugees are still living in refugee camps. With Myanmar's borders closed due to the pandemic and limited action from the Myanmar government to ensure the possibility of a safe return home, Rohingyan survivors’ future remains uncertain.

Of the Rohingya refugees living in the Kutupalong camp in Cox’s Bazar, the largest refugee camp in the world, more than 50% are children. More than 300,000 children in the camp are missing out on an education, with 6,000 learning institutions in the camp closed and extremely limited internet access inhibiting remote learning. 

COVID-19 comes to Cox’s Bazar

With fifty confirmed COVID-19 cases in Cox’s Bazar, GlobalGiving partners are jumping into action:

  • BRAC USA is distributing hand washing devices, masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, and leaflets with prevention tips to keep residents safe. Their public health awareness campaign has already reached more than 700,000 people
  • The HOPE Foundation has set up two isolation units with 50 beds each to treat COVID-19 patients, one serving the camp itself and the other for the host community of Cox’s Bazar. 
  • Friends of UNFPA established a hand-washing system at each of their health clinics in the camp, where volunteers guide Rohingya patients in hand-washing and social distancing protocols. 
  • JAAGO continues to provide education remotely through radio and the internet, ensuring that among all of the changes brought by the pandemic, access to education isn't one of them. 

These days, solidarity is more important than ever  which is why we’re so grateful for your support in supporting the Rohingya people in their time of need. 

With gratitude, 

Shannon + the GlobalGiving Team

Photo courtesy of Concern Worldwide US.
Photo courtesy of Concern Worldwide US.
Photo courtesy of Friends of UNFPA, Inc
Photo courtesy of Friends of UNFPA, Inc
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Courtesy of JAAGO's Safe Haven project report
Courtesy of JAAGO's Safe Haven project report

The COVID-19 crisis has presented monumental challenges to communities across the world. For some of us, these challenges include working from home while juggling child care, caring for sick relatives, and coping with social isolation. 

For others, like Rohingya refugees living in camps in Bangladesh, surviving a pandemic presents even greater challenges.  Since social distancing is nearly impossible, respiratory illness is common, and day-wages are most individuals’ only source of income, overcoming the pandemic will require an enormous show of solidarity from the international community. Hundreds of individuals have been stranded in boats at sea for two months, as Malaysia and Bangladesh closed their ports to the migrants seeking to escape the difficult conditions. 

Populations already hard-hit by recent natural disasters or in the midst of ongoing humanitarian crises are disproportionately impacted by the virus. That’s why GlobalGiving launched a round of emergency grants from your generous donations to the Rohingya Refugee Relief Fund. These flexible grants reinforced local nonprofits’ ability to act quickly in delivering personal protective equipment (PPE), essential medical supplies, and food to the most vulnerable. 

Here’s a snapshot of how your contribution is keeping refugees safe while far from home:

Mending the gap in food aid

  • OBAT Helpers: As the local economy remains shut down, the daily wages Rohingya refugees earn through jobs outside of the camp have dried up. Since workers can no longer depend on these low earnings to feed their families, organizations like OBAT Helpers have delivered food packages to over 1,600 families in an effort to mend the gap. 

Spreading hope through tiny miracles

  • HOPE Foundation for Women and Children of Bangladesh: HOPE Foundation’s expertly-trained midwives are working around the clock to ensure the health of mothers and newborn babies in Cox’s Bazar, while also distributing PPE and masks to the wider community. Previous grants to this organization have contributed to the construction of a field hospital, which is now being activated to effectively treat residents who test positive for the coronavirus.

Sharing life-saving information

  • Internews: Access to accurate, timely, and life-saving information is half of the battle in the fight against COVID-19. Faced with unreliable internet and cell service availability, Rohingya refugees are often at a disadvantage when it comes to staying informed. With the emergency grant, Internews is strengthening its efforts to deliver current news in the local language to thousands of refugees, through both radio and educational entertainment programs. 

These rapid-response grants reflect just one component of GlobalGiving’s overall response to COVID-19. Our community of donors has supported local relief efforts in more than 30 countries through our Coronavirus Relief Fund, and we have also activated a Hardship Microgrants Program to help nonprofits across the world keep the lights on during a time of great uncertainty. 

We are keeping you and the entire community of GlobalGivers in our thoughts these days, as you stay safe and keep the hope alive with your generosity. As always, thank you for contributing to a local, human-centered response to the Rohingya displacement crisis. 

In solidarity,

Andrea + the GlobalGiving Team 

HOPE Foundation's Midwifery training program
HOPE Foundation's Midwifery training program
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Photo courtesy of OBAT Helpers
Photo courtesy of OBAT Helpers

In times of uncertainty, local nonprofit organizations are on the frontlines of addressing the needs of their communities. As the COVID-19 pandemic fills the headlines, we take a moment to acknowledge the critical work that grassroots organizations are doing to protect those most at-risk during a crisis situation. 

In particular, GlobalGiving’s nonprofit partners operating in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh are working hard to build resilience in the Rohingya refugee community as they have been doing for the past two years. From innovative preventative healthcare measures in tackling cholera, to the construction of permanent structures as safe spaces for children’s education, your support of the Rohingya Refugee Relief Fund has been reducing vulnerabilities for the long-term. 

Constructive Solutions To Education Challenges 

Accessing basic education curriculum continues to be an ongoing struggle for refugees fleeing the violence and instability in their home country of Myanmar. As a result, aid organizations have had to get creative in their efforts to bring learning opportunities to thousands of youth. Nonprofit partner JAAGO Foundation has done just that by building newclassrooms and a library—all powered by solar panels—to create a healthy environment for students to learn. 

Strengthening Community Health Networks

Unsanitary camp conditions in the Cox’s Bazar and Kutupalong settlements oftentimes cause residents to suffer from persistent colds and infections. In order to build the community’s immunity and reduce the risk of transmission, organizations such as OBAT Helpers have been instrumental in building trust between community members and doctors in order to provide vaccinations, address symptoms, and deliver treatment. At the Rohingya Health Clinic, over 300 patients a day are met by dedicated teams of staff of both Rohingya and other medical volunteers.

Sharing Critical Information With Added Fact-checking

In times of crisis, sharing information with those who need it is only half the battle. The other half is the important step of fact-checking—which separates life-saving information from rumors or messages that might sow panic or mistrust. Nonprofit organization Internews is working hard to address this issue on both fronts. Through constant feedback loops, the organization identifies the most important information needs in the community and distributes it through radio, social media, and in-person announcements, while keeping a close eye on the spread of misinformation. This helps ensure communities receive the information they need to keep themselves and their families safe.

Thank you again for your ongoing support of this fund and the communities facing high risk during global health crises. We will continue to share regular updates on how your contribution is making a difference in this ongoing displacement crisis by supporting local, community-led initiatives. 

With gratitude,


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Photo from BRAC USA
Photo from BRAC USA

As we enter a new decade, we are reflecting on all the ways that donors like you chose to act with empathy, kindness, and solidarity in support of people affected by humanitarian crises. Through your donations to the Rohingya Refugee Relief Fund, local nonprofit organizations received the resources required to address the long-term needs of roughly 900,000 refugees driven from their homes by violence and conflict. 

While it remains uncertain how long this displacement crisis will last, the GlobalGiving community is continuing to respond to the new set of challenges through a recent round of grants in support of relief efforts:

Empowering Medical Response from Within the Community

The goal of OBAT Helpers Inc is to improve the health outcomes of Rohingya refugees by harnessing the capacity that lies within the Rohingya community itself. OBAT Helpers is achieving this by developing a network of Community Health Workers comprised of Rohingya volunteers, empowering the very community the health organization works to benefit. 

The health workers make regular “home visits” within the camps and work to raise awareness of the clinic’s available services within the Rohingya community. Thanks to your generous support, the health workers distribute medical supplies based on the needs they observe during visits. 

The Right to Education 

Losing everything after being forced to flee from Myanmar is difficult enough, but especially heartbreaking is the erosion of educational opportunities available to displaced Rohingya children living in the Bangladeshi camps. Tensions over which country’s curriculum to permit has limited access to formalized education, a critical necessity to avoid a “lost generation.”

JAAGO Foundation, a local nonprofit partner based in Bangladesh, aims to provide the very best in holistic care and protection for children ages 4-15 through its Safe Haven Project. Through the creation of three different learning zones within the camps, JAAGO builds an environment of social and emotional development for students, complete with experts in trauma therapy. 

Progress in the Fight Against Gender-based Violence

BRAC USA is coordinating with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in launching a new initiative against gender-based violence.

Over 100 men are stepping into the role of fighting sexual and gender-based violence, speaking weekly about a variety of topics including positive masculinity, child marriage, and polygamy. Utilizing this community-based model, community members are given the skills and knowledge they need to become role models equipped to confront abuse and offer pathways of support to victims. 

In 2020, enabled by your generous support of this fund, GlobalGiving is working to establish new partnerships with Rohingya-led organizations and host community leaders to ensure the well-being of both young and old affected by this conflict. Inspired by a fresh start, we join together in hoping for a resolution to this ongoing crisis. 

Photo from Jaago Foundation
Photo from Jaago Foundation
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Location: Washington, D.C. - USA
EIN: 30-0108263

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