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Rohingya Refugee Relief Fund

by GlobalGiving's Disaster Recovery Network
Rohingya Refugee Relief Fund
Photo by OBAT Helpers
Photo by OBAT Helpers

August 25th marked the second anniversary of the Myanmar military’s brutal crackdown on the Rohingya Muslim minority population and the ensuing mass exodus of the Rohingya into Bangladesh. With negotiations over the resettlement of Rohingya refugees between Bangladesh and Myanmar stalled, more than 700,000 Rohingya refugees remain caught in limbo, unable to return to their homeland. 

The monsoon season in Bangladesh officially started on June 17. A strong start to this annual weather phenomenon has created new challenges for displaced Rohingya living in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Fortunately, with support from the international community, the efforts of monsoon preparedness campaigns are helping to mitigate some of the damage incurred by the temporary camps this season. 


The Sunshine After the Rain 

Despite the difficulties that this year’s torrential rains have added to a fragile housing situation, GlobalGiving’s nonprofit partners are providing unfaltering assistance to refugees living in the displacement camps.  

See how your contribution helped to bring light to the Rohingya community amidst the storm season:

New Gender-Issues Radio Drama: Internews launched Ma Boin er Lai (“Mothers and Daughters”), a radio program focused on issues facing women and girls from both the Rohingya and host communities. As a serialized radio drama, Ma Boin er Lai follows the fictional lives of a female teacher and her students as they navigate a range of topics including sexual and reproductive health, gender-based violence, women’s mobility, and access to information.

500 Children Celebrate Eid With New Clothes: Just in time for the Islamic holiday of Eid, OBAT Helpers Inc distributed new clothes to 500 children in the learning centers. This joyful celebration was a welcome break from the trauma these children experience living in displacement. 

676 Water Quality Tests Conducted: In the aftermath of heavy monsoon rains, local water sources are susceptible to contamination from parasitic and water-borne diseases. Luckily, refugee camp workers are prepared for this issue and diligently test water source quality to limit communicable disease within the camp. 

5340 Trees Planted to Prevent Landslides: The rapid development of the Kutupalong refugee camp has led to the deforestation of a fragile ecosystem, and directly increased the likelihood of hillsides during pounding monsoon rains. In order to address this precarious situation, Bangladeshi NGO Friendship is working with the Rohingya community to reforest the region. 

As always, thank you for choosing to support community-led organizations as they stand with the Rohingya refugee community in their ongoing displacement. 


With gratitude,

Andrea Osorio + the GlobalGiving Team

Photo by HOPE Foundation
Photo by HOPE Foundation
Photo by OBAT Helpers
Photo by OBAT Helpers
Photo by World Concern
Photo by World Concern

Monsoon season is quickly approaching in Bangladesh—lasting from June to October, it is expected to account for roughly 80% of the country’s yearly rainfall. The monsoon season will include powerful winds, torrential rainfall, and the potential for cyclones. Taken together, these risks will serve only to exacerbate the extreme challenges and poor living conditions facing the more than 900,000 Rohingya that continue to live in refugee camps and informal settlements in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.

Slow progress has been made in stabilizing the basic needs of the Rohingya living in the camps and settlements, but, even beyond the threats of the upcoming monsoon season, Rohingya refugees still find themselves in a very precarious environment and situation. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs explains that the “root causes of their plight in Myanmar have not been addressed and their future is yet uncertain.” For a more detailed overview of the enormous obstacles that continue to face Rohingya communities, you can read the latest situation report released in April by the Inter Sector Coordination Group, the overarching body that is responsible for organizing the international response to the Rohingya refugee crisis.

GlobalGiving’s partner organizations continue to work day in and day out to deliver lifesaving services and support to the Rohingya. Here are recent updates from several of our partners:

  • JAAGO Foundation is expanding its Safe Haven Project that provides trauma counseling services to Rohingya children through the use, for example, of color therapy. To date, the organization has worked with 500 children.

  • Friendship remains committed to providing a wide variety of services to Rohingya living within the Kutupalong refugee camp in Bangladesh. As of May 2019, the organization has, among other accomplishments, installed more than 40 solar panels, built two maternity centers, distributed more than 12,000 hygiene kits, and installed nearly 200 hand-washing stations.

  • World Concern is continuing to provide relief and safe spaces for Rohingya families in the Kutupalong refugee camp in Bangladesh. You can read more about the recent story of Sajeda, a woman supported by the organization.

  • BRAC USA is working around the clock to prepare and protect Rohingya families from the impacts of the upcoming monsoon season. The organization has trained and deployed a team of 1,000 Rohingya community mobilization volunteers to conduct nearly 10,000 awareness meetings to prepare their community for the monsoon.

You and thousands of other GlobalGivers have raised more than $350,000 for our Rohingya Refugee Relief Fund and have helped make these stories of progress possible. Thank you for your generosity, and for choosing to support community-led organizations responding to this ongoing crisis.

Photo by BRAC USA
Photo by BRAC USA
Photo from Artolution
Photo from Artolution

The latest estimates say that more than 900,000 Rohingya people are now residing within Bangladesh as refugees, the vast majority of which are living in the Kutupalong refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar. This represents more than 200,000 families unable to return home.

Previous discussions between the governments of Bangladesh and Myanmar regarding the safe and dignified repatriation of an initial group of 2,200 refugees to Myanmar have stalled. More troubling, a recent Reuters special report outlines how specific forces within Myanmar are setting in motion acts seemingly aimed at preventing Rohingya refugees from ever returning to the homes that they were forced to flee in the face of extreme violence. Hundreds of Rohingya settlements have been partially or completely destroyed, with homes or entire villages burned to the ground and bulldozed to make way for new settlements for other ethnic groups.

In the midst of these concerning developments and immense challenges, we are incredibly thankful for your generous support. GlobalGiving remains deeply committed to our nonprofit partners that are working tirelessly to assist Rohingya refugees. Our partners’ work and dedication is a consistent beacon of hope. Here are several highlights from their work in recent months:

  • JAAGO Foundation is continuing its Safe Haven Project (SHP) for Rohingya refugee children. At its core, SHP aims to provide a safe, child-friendly space for 500 children that have experienced trauma. Children are provided with psychosocial support, nutritious meals, and tailored learning programs.
  • Internews is partnering with several other organizations to provide a snapshot of feedback received from Rohingya refugees and host communities, in the form of a newsletter, to inform better planned and implemented relief activities that take into account community needs and preferences.
  • BRAC USA recently opened a two-story learning center in the Kutupalong camp. The center, incorporating Rohingya architectural traditions, will serve more than 250 Rohingya children. It 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.
  • Artolution has lead several community-based public art projects, including murals across the Kutupalong camp, to creatively engage with Rohingya children. The projects seek to stand as a testament to the resiliency of the residents of the camp despite their displacement.

As we continue into 2019 together, we thank you again for standing up for the Rohingya people.

Chase Williams + the GlobalGiving Team

Photo from JAAGO Foundation
Photo from JAAGO Foundation
Photo from BRAC USA
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 ActionAid USA
Photo from Internews
Photo from Internews
Photo from Friendship
Photo from Friendship

Monsoon season is fast approaching, and in the area around Cox’s Bazaar on the southern tip of Bangladesh, where the nearly 700,000 Rohingya refugees have fled from Myanmar and are living in makeshift camps, there is an enormous risk of flooding and landslides.

The Rohingya “mega-camp,” now the largest refugee camp in the world, is particularly vulnerable to these natural hazards, given it was rapidly constructed, mostly of bamboo and tarpaulin, on steep hillsides that were deforested quickly to accommodate the massive influx of refugees. Reports estimate that up to 200,000 Rohingya are at risk from the projected impacts of the upcoming months of heavy rainfall.

In the face of this looming disaster and the immensity of the other challenges facing the Rohingya, our nonprofit partners continue to push forward with their critical work. GlobalGiving is supporting three new projects run by our partners:

  • Friendship is training Rohingya households and Rohingya community leaders in erosion control techniques and providing soil-appropriate, fast-growing seeds and saplings.
  • HOPE Foundation for Women & Children of Bangladesh is fully equipping a new operating room in the organization’s field hospital located in the camps, primarily serving Rohingya women.
  • Internews is scaling up critical humanitarian information sharing services, feedback mechanisms and systems, and fact-checking services that are easily accessible to all who are living in the camps.

Thank you for your continued dedication to Rohingya refugees during this time of immense need. With more than 1,500 donors to the Rohingya Refugee Relief Fund, our nonprofit partners are able to continue making a tangible impact in the lives of so many.

Chase Williams + the GlobalGiving Team

Photo from OBAT Helpers
Photo from OBAT Helpers
Photo from BRAC
Photo from BRAC

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Location: Washington, D.C. - USA
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