Photo from BRAC USA
The end of August marked one year since more than 700,000 Rohingya people from western Myanmar were violently driven from their homes and 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. It is now the largest and most densely populated refugee camp in the world.
Hardship and uncertainty are daily realities 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.
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. 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.
Here is a closer look at how your donations to the Rohingya Refugee Relief Fund are making a difference:
Protecting mothers and children
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.”
Delivering critical humanitarian information
Bala-bura means “good-bad” in Rohingya. In conversation, it’s similar to saying “how are you—good or bad?” in English.
The phrase is also the name of an audio program for Rohingya refugees.
A team of 20 Rohingya refugees produces 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 Bengalis, 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 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.
At this one year mark and into the future, thank you for your continued support to the Rohingya people.
Chase Williams + the GlobalGiving Team
Photo from ActionAid USA
Photo from Internews