Bangladesh is a country in southern Asia. A small, under-developed, and overcrowded country, it has recently come under extra heavy strain with the massive surge of refugees arriving from nearby Burma. In February 2018 the United Nations estimates almost 1 million refugees have fled Burma and sought refuge in Bangladesh namely, the Cox’s Bazar area.
The Rohingya people are an ethnic, Muslim group of people who were residing in Burma or present-day Myanmar before the military attacks began in 2017.
In 1948 Burma gained its independence from Britain and soon after military rule began. 1982 the government of Burma rendered the Rohingya people stateless when it refused to identify them as one of its national ethnic groups. In 1989 Burma is renamed to Myanmar. Conflict continued between the Myanmar government and the Rohingya people until 2017 when massive violence erupted.
Since 2017, hundreds of Rohingya people fled the genocide and ethnic cleansing in Myanmar by escaping to neighboring Bangladesh.
Before the influx of arriving Rohingya refugees, Bangladesh struggled with economic stability and development. Since the Rohingya refugees’ arrival, conditions in Bangladesh have become much worse. The locals who were originally poor, are now competing with Rohingya refugees for minimum wage jobs, over-crowded grocery stores, and land being taken from them to build campsites for the refugees.
Without adequate shelter, refugees are exposed to dangerous weather conditions, malnutrition, contaminated water, unhygienic environments, diseases, and early death. Furthermore, when needed, Rohingya refugees have zero to minimal access for schooling, medical services, or basic necessities needed for survival.
Including the high risk of disease and malnutrition, children and women are especially at risk for experiencing adverse conditions. Child exploitation, abduction, abuse, and lack of safety are all protection issues faced by Rohingya children. Likewise, women face many safety issues, with gender-based violence (GBV) being the leading danger. Gender-based violence faced by females includes abuse, exploitation, trafficking, sexual valance, early marriage, and other conditions which put women’s health and well-being at risk.
Mercy Without Limits has been working in Bangladesh since 2017. Our main and initial focus was on emergency relief. Since then, we have expanded our efforts to accommodate other programs and projects intended to empower and support Rohingya refugees. This includes orphan care program, food security project, water & sanitation hygiene project, and healthcare project.
Specifically, Mercy Without Limits has built:
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