In August 2017, Shofika fled violence in Rakhine State, Myanmar, and crossed the border into Bangladesh with her husband and three children, ages six, four and two. She sought shelter in the Kutupalong Expansion Site refugee camp in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, that houses more than 600,000 Rohingya refugees. It is currently the world’s largest refugee camp. In early 2018, Shofika became pregnant with her fourth child.
For the more than 900,000 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar sheltering in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, the simple act of cooking a meal lies at the heart of a complex web of health, safety, nutrition and environmental concerns. Community Partners International (CPI) is launching a project to bring improved cookstoves into refugee households in Cox’s Bazar to help reduce firewood consumption that drives environmental degradation and deforestation, and support efforts to decrease levels of indoor air pollution that can negatively impact people’s health.
Back in April, 2018, Community Partners International (CPI) began training a network of Rohingya Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) embedded in refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, to provide first response services to their communities. Since then, the CHVs have responded to 75 requests for urgent assistance.
With more than 900,000 Rohingya refugees living in tightly-packed shelters in Cox’s Bazar, and with many communities at high risk of flooding from the monsoon rains, access to clean water, hygiene and sanitation is crucial to reduce the risk of diarrhea, cholera and other dangerous diseases. As of June 21, 2018, two thirds of Rohingya refugees have access to safe water and functional latrines that meet the standards agreed by the Inter Sector Coordination Group (ISCG) in Cox’s Bazar. Community Partners International (CPI) is working with local partner Society for People’s Action in Change and Equity (SPACE) to help close the gap and ensure that all refugees have access to these basic needs.
For Rohingya women and girls sheltering as refugees in Cox’s Bazar, the shadow of gender-based violence (GBV) is never far away. While many have directly experienced or witnessed traumatic incidents during the recent violence in northern Rakhine state, the precarious circumstances and lack of protection that they experience as refugees continues to expose them to a high risk of GBV and human trafficking. Among Rohingya communities, as in many communities in Myanmar and elsewhere, stigma and cultural norms can hinder discussion and acknowledgment of these issues, making prevention and response more challenging. Survivors of GBV often have little or no access to support, and awareness-raising and prevention efforts can face resistance. Community Partners International (CPI) is working in partnership with Rohingya communities in Cox’s Bazar to find creative and innovative ways to break the silence around GBV, and support community initiatives that help ensure women and girls are protected from violence.