Supporting the most vulnerable - Bangladesh

Close to a million Rohingya people have fled violence in Myanmar to seek refuge across the border in Bangladesh. Around 688,000 Rohingya refugees have arrived in Bangladesh’s south-eastern districts since August 2017. They join hundreds of thousands of Rohingya people who were already in Bangladesh, living in refugee camps and with local communities. 

Photo caption: The first woman friendly space (WFS) set up by CARE at Potibunia Camp in Ukhiya, Cox's Bazar. Credit: Prottyashi/CARE Bangladesh. Date: February 2018.

Photo caption: The first woman friendly space (WFS) set up by CARE at Potibunia Camp in Ukhiya, Cox's Bazar. Credit: Prottyashi/CARE Bangladesh. Date: February 2018.

Many have arrived with just the clothes on their backs, and they require food, clean water and shelter to survive, but above all they need to feel safe. People are living in makeshift tents in hugely overcrowded settlements. Conditions in the camps are inadequate and unhealthy, with overflowing latrines and contaminated water. The camps are largely unlit and dangerous at night – women, girls and boys are particularly vulnerable to abuse, exploitation and trafficking.

CARE, with funding provided through the Australian Humanitarian Partnership (AHP), is supporting the most vulnerable Rohingya and host communities in Bangladesh, providing both life-saving and protection assistance. All activities aim to create a protective environment for women and girls.

Photo caption: Rehana Begum, Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. Credit: Asafuzzaman/CARE Bangladesh. Date: February 2018.

Photo caption: Rehana Begum, Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. Credit: Asafuzzaman/CARE Bangladesh. Date: February 2018.

With AHP funds, CARE is establishing Women Friendly Spaces (WFS) to support women. At the WFS women can access counselling and psycho social support. The first WFS in Potibunia Camp has been operational since December 2017, and additional spaces are being established in early 2018. CARE is distributing both dignity and infant kits at the WFS. 

Rehana Begum: “We don’t feel good at home. No one to talk to about how we feel. We have small kids. This office (the WFS) was built. Apas/sisters (the counsellors) are here. We can talk to them about our situation. We feel depressed at home.  When we come to this office, we feel better as we can talk about our pain and agony. We feel happy as we can talk to others. We feel relaxed as this office is here for us to talk about different things."

Date of the article: February 2018

In 2017, Oxfam Australia in partnership with CARE Australia, received $3 million through the AHP to respond to the Bangladesh-Myanmar humanitarian crisis. Activities are being delivered in the following sectors: health, nutrition, water sanitation and hygiene, protection and education. The length of the response is November 2017 - October 2018.