Today’s fastest growing refugee crisis

by | May 15, 2018

The fastest growing refugee crisis in the world is happening before our very eyes in Southeast Asia. Since August 2017, nearly 700,000 Rohingya people have fled their homes in Myanmar and crossed the border into Bangladesh. The Rohingya people are an ethnic and religious minority who have been denied citizenship and have been targeted in ways that the United Nations has described as “textbook ethnic cleansing“. Refugee camps have sprung up overnight in southeastern Bangladesh near Cox’s Bazar as many risk their lives to find safety, with makeshift structures and tents perched along the hillsides.

Like many conflicts around the world, women and children have borne the brunt of the violence and destruction. Many Rohingya family households are female headed and are among the most vulnerable in the camps. Nasima (pictured above) is one of the children living in the Jamtoli camp in southeastern Bangladesh. When Nasima is not playing leapfrog with friends in the camp, she is helping her uncle and aunt with household chores. Behind Nasima’s hopeful smile lies a harrowing past. After fleeing the massacre in her village, her parents were able to join a group of 70 people on a small fishing boat hoping to sail their way to safety. The boat capsized on the journey and Nasima was the lone survivor from her family. Nasima was able to make it to Jamtoli camp where she was able to find her uncle, aunt, and two cousins who have taken Nasima in to raise her as one of their own (Nasima and her Uncle pictured below).

Nasima’s story highlights the toll that conflicts have on women and children, as well as the strength, courage, and hope to be found.

 

What we can do to make a difference

One Day’s Wages is partnering with World Renew to come alongside Rohingya families like Nasima’s. World Renew is investing in the Jamtoli refugee camp by focusing on the health and sanitation of the residents in the camp. To do this, World Renew is building 10 community kitchens throughout the camp to provide a safe and sanitary place for families to cook their daily meals. In addition, they are providing individual stoves to 225 households and offering health, nutrition, water, sanitation, and hygiene sessions to 500 households. These projects equip members of the camp with the skills and equipment needed to begin the process of rebuilding their lives.

This partnership is key to the daily well-being of the Rohingya people because many live in makeshift structures that were quickly made as temporary shelters, constructed with wood and bamboo. As time has gone on and hope has diminished of ever returning home, these makeshift structures have been stretched to their capacity and have proven to be unsafe for the cooking of daily meals. World Renew’s focus on safe and sanitary cooking settings highlights the goal of empowering refugees, especially women and children, with the tools and skills necessary as they begin to rebuild their futures.

For more information on World Renew’s project in the Jamtoli camp and to donate to support Rohingya families like Nasima’s through our matching grant campaign, click below. 

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