When 27-year-old Monjur arrived in the hot and crowded Kutupalong camp of Cox’s Bazar his primary concern was the welfare of his children.
As a Rohingya refugee arriving in Bangladesh from Myanmar he and his family had already witnessed unbearable scenes of violence.
The Rohingya crisis, which started one year ago, has led to over 700,000 people fleeing over the border to camps in Bangladesh. Exhausted families such as Monjur’s were trying to survive in the most basic of conditions – many without shelter or clean water.
‘We were worried about our children’s mental health, because of what they faced,’ says Monjur.
Jacob Sarker, Bangladesh Country Representative for Tearfund, says ‘We are now a whole year on and the threats facing the Rohingya people continue. The people and the Government of Bangladesh have welcomed the Rohingya refugees with generosity and open borders, but the situation in the camps remains urgent and desperate. The Rohingya people are facing the continued threat and reality of rains, mudslides, poor sanitation, the spread of disease, and are reliant on food distributions.
‘We are working through our partners to address some of these needs, yet it’s also important we recognise the wounds they are bearing of the trauma they have endured.’
For young children in particular, early experiences of such a crisis have a lasting impact. Over the past year our partners have opened 12 child-friendly spaces, and plan to open more next year.
‘The need for psychosocial support is on a monumental scale. We need to let children be children,’ adds Jacob.