Support Children in the Rohingya Refugee Crisis

by UNICEF USA
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Support Children in the Rohingya Refugee Crisis
Support Children in the Rohingya Refugee Crisis
Support Children in the Rohingya Refugee Crisis
Support Children in the Rohingya Refugee Crisis
Support Children in the Rohingya Refugee Crisis
Support Children in the Rohingya Refugee Crisis
Support Children in the Rohingya Refugee Crisis
UNICEF Bangladesh/UN0580001/Lateef
UNICEF Bangladesh/UN0580001/Lateef

Dear Friend,

Bangladesh continues to host over 907,000 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar, with an additional 50,000 refugees entering the country in 2021. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the vulnerabilities of Rohingya refugees, who live in high-density camps with increased transmission risk. The pandemic’s restrictions have fueled an increase in multidimensional poverty, with over 60% of Rohingya households falling in that category compared to 47% in 2019.

These challenges have been exacerbated by natural disasters. Annual monsoons caused damage across learning centers and water and sanitation facilities across the camps; damaging fires have emerged as a consistent challenge as well.

Thanks to the support of individuals like you, UNICEF continues to navigate these challenges to deliver essential services to children and women who need it most. In 2021, UNICEF reached 1.1 million people with COVID-19 prevention and vaccination messages and supported the COVID-19 vaccination of 86% of Rohingya refugees over the age of 55. In parallel, UNICEF maintained access to essential health services for 250,000 Rohingya refugees across ten camps. Nutrition remained a priority, with UNICEF providing 95% of children ages 6-59 months with vitamin A supplementation. Over 97,000 young children also received deworming tablets and UNICEF continued to equip stakeholders with nutrition supplies and training to foster healthy child development.

Learning centers in Cox’s Bazaar reopened in September, allowing 119,444 Rohingya refugee children to attend in-person learning four days a week. UNICEF also invested in school improvements in 657 primary schools, benefitting 180,000 children. Child protection efforts continued in earnest. Information on gender-based violence prevention and risk mitigation reached over 50,000 Rohingya refugees and nearly 8,000 host community members. To prevent sexual exploitation and abuse, UNICEF offered orientations to practitioners to identify and report incidents.

While all of these essential efforts continue, UNICEF also must adapt to the unexpected challenges Rohingya refugees face. After a destructive fire broke out in January 2022, a number of water and education facilities were destroyed and children traumatized. UNICEF’s temporary learning centers offer children an outlet for continued learning and a space to speak with social workers and psychologists to process their fears and anxieties following this incident. For five-year-old Jamila, pictured, UNICEF workers are a key lifeline in the face of great stress.

Due to your generosity, UNICEF will continue to work with and for children such as Jamila to ensure a better future for the Rohingya community. As always, thank you for standing with us in this work.

In Partnership,

Whitney

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UNICEF/UN0522701/Lateef
UNICEF/UN0522701/Lateef

Dear Friend,

Bangladesh continues to face complex humanitarian emergencies. The country is hosting over 895,000 Rohingya refugees, including 456,712 children, who fled violence in Rakhine State, Myanmar four years ago. Durable solutions are still being sought for their safe return to Myanmar. The COVID-19 pandemic, fire incidents, upsurge of acute watery diarrhoea/cholera, monsoon floods and landslides have further exacerbated their living conditions, especially for women and children.

In 2021, the humanitarian response in the camps was delivered at drastically reduced levels due to the COVID-19 situation and related restrictions. Nevertheless, UNICEF and partners worked tirelessly to deliver the most critical services through alternative means, such as home-based learning, and in compliance with COVID-19 prevention measures. Thanks to your generosity, UNICEF has continued to support caregiver-led education, ensuring that 190,663 Rohingya children (48 percent girls) engage in learning activities at home. UNICEF has also continued to use radio programs to reach 57,603 children (49 percent girls) including 536 children with disabilities. UNICEF supported the government to organize a national vitamin A campaign which reached nearly 147,000 Rohingya children. UNICEF has also provided over 78,250 primary health consultations amongst Rohingya refugees. Furthermore, UNICEF and partners have continued to provide access to quality water, sanitation and hygiene services to 242,000 Rohingya refugees (51 percent female and 1.2 percent people with disabilities).

As the year comes to a close, UNICEF and partners are looking ahead to 2022. UNICEF will continue to provide multi-sectoral, life-saving humanitarian and sustainable interventions for Rohingya children and their families. Adhering to COVID-19 infection prevention and control measures, UNICEF will prioritize continuity of services in the camps, focusing on:

  • The safe reopening of learning centers;
  • Enhancing primary healthcare, improving coverage of immunization services; and 
  • Addressing the needs of women and girls, including through mitigation, prevention and response to gender-based violence

On behalf of the vulnerable Rohingya children in Bangladesh, thank you for your continued support.  

In partnership,

Kelly Procida

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Dear Friend,

Bangladesh continues to host over 884,000 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar across 34 camps in Cox’s Bazar District, over half of whom are children. While basic services have been provided, children still face disease outbreaks, malnutrition, inadequate educational opportunities and the risks related to neglect, exploitation and violence including gender-based violence (GBV) risks, child marriage and child labor.

These challenges have been exacerbated by natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic. Annual monsoons caused damage across learning centers and water and sanitation facilities across the camps; this comes after a deadly fire broke out in Cox’s Bazar in March. Bangladesh continues to struggle with the threat of COVID-19 nationwide, and the refugee camps are no exception.

Thanks to the support of individuals like you, UNICEF continues to navigate these challenges to deliver essential services to children and women who need it most. Over 3,300 children received severe acute malnutrition treatment thanks to the monitoring work of nearly 1,000 nutrition monitoring volunteers. UNICEF and partners have continued to provide access to quality WASH services to 242,000 Rohingya refugees. As learning centers in the camps have been closed due to COVID-19 restrictions, UNICEF and partners have worked to provide alternative learning avenues. To enable caregiver-led education, 435,348 workbooks were distributed this year enabling 190,663 Rohingya children (48 per cent girls) to engage in learning activities at home. As an alternate method of delivering learning in the camps, radio programs were used for distance learning to reach 57,603 children including 536 children with disabilities and their caregivers.

Through it all, UNICEF is working to empower children to lead the way for their communities. In Cox Bazar, UNICEF designed an innovative program to “Make WASH Fun” for children, placing them at the center of COVID-19 hygiene promotion response efforts. Mohammad, pictured here, is one great example of a child leader, who enthusiastically shares important hygiene messages in his community.

Due to your generosity, UNICEF will continue to work with and for children such as Mohammad to ensure a better future for the Rohingya community. As always, thank you for standing with us in this work.

In Partnership,

Whitney

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Dear Friend,

As you may be aware, on March 22, 2021, a massive fire in Cox’s Bazar caused widespread devastation when it quickly spread across four Rohingya refugee camps, displacing around 50,000 refugees, half of whom are children and destroying 142 learning centers, which children rely on to continue their education. In addition, one primary health care center, two nutrition facilities, six water supply networks, 763 latrines and 280 bathing spaces were either severely damaged or destroyed.

During the first 24 hours following the fire, UNICEF’s immediate concern was to ensure the safety and protection of children who were missing or separated from their families. UNICEF and partners sheltered over 70 lost children overnight. By midday the day after the fire, nearly half of these had been successfully reunited with their families.

Junaid’s Story

Junaid and his siblings quickly became separated in the panic and chaos that followed the massive fire in the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh in the afternoon of March 22. Flames quickly engulfed shelters, spreading across four refugee camps and forcing tens of thousands to flee their homes.

Those who had time grabbed their most important possessions. Others were lucky to escape with their lives. The day after the tragedy, the ground remained extremely hot, while the air was heavily polluted and difficult to breathe.

When twelve-year-old Junaid saw UNICEF’s staff on the ground, he ran to meet them, overcome to see familiar faces and help arriving from outside the camp. “We lost everything in the fire. My father and I stayed with our uncle the night of the fire, but we didn’t know what happened to my two siblings, we were so worried. The next day we were reunited, we were overjoyed,” said Junaid.

As the immediate disaster is stabilized, UNICEF and partners are planning a complex rebuilding effort which will need outside support. Children like Junaid have seen their learning centers turned to ashes. “I loved coming to this learning center where I would play with my friends. But everything is gone,” Junaid shared.

Following the fire, UNICEF and partners deployed mobile medical teams to affected areas and provided medical services to 545 patients, including 124 children. With your support, UNICEF has been able to reopen the primary health care center which was partially damaged, and continues to provide medical care for children and their families at the facility. According to the latest figures, 390 children have been successfully reunited with their parents or primary caregivers and 11 temporary Child Friendly Spaces and four Child Protection Help Desks have been established to maintain the continuity of essential services. While working to rehabilitate the learning centers, UNICEF and partners are strengthening care-giver-led home-based learning for children affected by the fire. In addition, UNICEF has provided emergency water and sanitation services to 18,700 people who lost their homes and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities due to the fire.

With your generous support, UNICEF will continue to ensure that Rohingya refugee children and their families get back on their feet following this devastating fire.

In partnership,

Whitney

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Asheka, 16 year old youth volunteer
Asheka, 16 year old youth volunteer

Dear Friend,

In 2017, escalating violence triggered an exodus of Rohingya people from Myanmar to Bangladesh. Men, women and children brought with them accounts of the unspeakable atrocities. The survivors, holding onto little more than memories of loved ones lost, fled their homes and crossed the border into Bangladesh. It was an agonizing journey for those who survived. They walked many miles, crossed mountains, rivers and the bay. For some the journey took a few days, for others over one month. Children carried whatever belongings they could grab while fleeing home, but the greatest burdens were pain, fear, exhaustion, starvation and thirst.

In Rohingya camps in Bangladesh, UNICEF and implementing partners are providing health, nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), education, child protection and gender-based violence services at scale. UNICEF works with the government to help connect children with the services, supplies and care they need for a fresh start and a bright future. Since their arrival in Bangladesh, Rohingya refugees grappled with new challenges – floods, landslides, severe storms and now, they are fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic.

From this tragedy, inspiring tales also started to emerge. There are stories of courage, determination and strength to rebuild lives from scratch in challenging and overcrowded refugee camps. Thousands of Rohingya children, youth and women are leading this endeavor, striving for a hopeful, better future. There are now nearly 860,000 Rohingya people living in exile in the world’s largest refugee settlement, located in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Over half of them are children.

“I miss my home in Burma a lot,” says 14-year old Kohinur who is learning Burmese and English alongside handicrafts at a UNICEF-supported center. “My family owned a two-story farm-house which had some land, livestock and a beautiful balcony.” She had to leave all this behind and rebuild her life in a refugee camp far from home. At the UNICEF center, this is the first time she has received any education and training since her family fled to Bangladesh in 2017. Kohinur says that the center has given her a new purpose in life and is a welcome respite from the daily household chores, which includes cooking rice and collecting water. Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, she was attending the center six days a week. She hopes that one day she can become a tailor and earn a living.

Asheka was 16 years old  when she became a youth volunteer in the Rohingya refugee camp in 2018. She has helped save countless lives in her community by visiting homes and simply sharing lifesaving information on better hygiene management for improved health. “I mainly speak with women and girls in my community to inform them about how to care for children and their own health by following best practices of hygiene management at home.” Asheka arrived in Bangladesh in September 2017 after a grueling journey from Myanmar. In the camps, though it is very tough, she enjoys the challenge of working as a youth volunteer, " I feel very happy that I'm able to do something for my community that I didn't know I could do before coming to UNICEF’s information and feedback center and receiving training on sharing correct messages."

“When I managed to cross the border and reached Bangladesh from Myanmar, all I wanted was to have a drop of clean water,” says Sanjida, a young Rohingya refugee mother of a six-month-old baby girl. “Throughout our journey to reach Bangladesh, we suffered so much, we were  running to save our lives, but we did not have access to drinkable water. We were thirsty and falling sick.” Sanjida now lives in a densely populated Rohingya refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. “My concerns are always about my daughter. The living conditions in the camp are very harsh but I must ensure that my child is safe and healthy. One thing that makes a big difference to maintaining the health of my child is the safe water taps that are installed near our home. This is lifesaving!”

UNICEF is mobilizing its resources to minimize the impact of COVID-19 on Rohingya people like Kohinur, Sanjida and Asheka. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a new threat to these overcrowded conditions. Many refugees live in flimsy bamboo and tarpaulin shelters where the dangers of everyday life remain all too real, including the high risk of the spread of infectious diseases like the coronavirus. With your partnership, UNICEF is disseminating lifesaving messages; scaling up handwashing points and hygiene promotion; adopting infection and control measures at all service points; and adopting alternative modalities including home-based caregiver-led learning and one-on-one psychosocial support.

UNICEF will continue to ensure that all Rohingya children are supported with the holistic care needed to return them to a sense of normalcy and ensure that they can thrive.

On behalf of Rohingya children, thank you.

Kohinur, 14, who is learning Burmese and English
Kohinur, 14, who is learning Burmese and English
Sanjida, a young Rohingya refugee mother
Sanjida, a young Rohingya refugee mother
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Organization Information

UNICEF USA

Location: New York - USA
Website:
Project Leader:
Whitney Simon
New York, New York United States
$65,882 raised of $75,000 goal
 
171 donations
$9,118 to go
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