"We hope that Rohingya children feel happy seeing our cards and that they think, ‘I received this. There are others out there who care for me.’"
These are the words of Faryal Asim, 14. To mark World Refugee Day, Faryal and a group of friends from Houston, Texas, designed cards expressing their solidarity and support for Rohingya children from Myanmar living as refugees in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. Faryal and her friends are members of families who have supported Community Partners International (CPI)'s Rohingya Refugee Response since the beginning of the refugee crisis in August 2017. "After hearing what they were going through we decided to make cards for them to make sure they know to stay brave and courageous and to not give up," Faryal explains.
Faryal empathizes with the plight of Rohingya children. "It is hard to lose your home, the place that you grew up in, so suddenly and so harshly. I hope and wish that all refugee children have safe, good homes and can get a proper education."
Ifra Hafeez, 14, also sent a card. "Reaching out to the Rohingya children felt right because they are children like us. These children deserve to know that they have others beside them, even across the world."
"I hope that our cards help them to feel inspired to stay strong and that they take comfort in knowing that they are not alone. My hopes and wishes for all refugee children is for them to live happily and achieve their dreams. I hope that in the future there will be no need for refugee camps and everyone will be able to live in peace."
The cards were handed out by representatives from Community Partners International to Rohingya children in the refugee camps, and these representatives also translated the messages into Rohingya language so that the children could understand them.
With support from the Muslim community in Houston and many other generous donors, Community Partners International has been on the ground providing humanitarian assistance in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, since the crisis began in August 2017, when more than 700,000 Rohingya fled violence in northern Rakhine State, Myanmar.
At present, Community Partners International is helping to safeguard Rohingya refugees and Bangladeshi host communities and save lives during the COVID-19 pandemic. The organization is supporting a network of Rohingya Community Health Volunteers providing the first line of health care to their communities. These volunteers are helping to raise awareness about COVID-19, supporting prevention and response efforts, and sharing information with fellow refugees on where and how to seek treatment if they become sick.
Community Partners International is also supporting a network of Rohingya Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Volunteers who are helping to construct, repair and maintain hand-washing stations, latrines, tube wells and other WASH facilities. The organization is installing 150 hand-washing stations at camp entrances and communal areas in camps to support COVID-19 prevention.
In Cox's Bazar, Community Partners International is working in partnership with several international aid organizations to construct, staff and equip a 52-bed COVID-19 isolation and treatment facility that will serve both Bangladeshi host communities and Rohingya refugees.