Protecting Rohingya children in Bangladesh

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Meet baby Kismat

The first days of Kismat’s life have been filled with fear and uncertainty. Her mother, 18-year-old Hazera, gave birth at a Unicef-supported health centre just days after arriving at a camp for Rohingya refugees.

Before Kismat was born, Hazera and her family were forced to flee their homes in Myanmar. The family spent 10 days hiding in a forest after soldiers attacked their village. It took heavily pregnant Hazera five days to walk across the border to Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. “I was in so much pain,” she said. “I feel safe here.”

This is not the start in life that she had imagined for her daughter.

More than 680,000 Rohingya people, around 60% of them children, have fled Myanmar for Bangladesh since last August. Camps, which were already home to over 300,000 Rohingya refugees, are now overwhelmed. The lives of thousands of children like Kismat are in danger.

Newborn Rohingya refugee Kismat Ara, sleeps in the Unicef-supported birthing centre in the Kutupalong camp for Rohingya refugees in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. Unicef/2017/LeMoyne

Newborn Rohingya refugee Kismat sleeps at the Unicef-supported birthing centre where she was born. The camp is so large that it's a 4-5 km walk for her exhausted mother to return to their tent.


Your donation can help Unicef keep children like Kismat safe.

£71 could provide an emergency water and hygiene kit for two families to provide them with safe, clean water.

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What is happening in Myanmar and Bangladesh?

Who are the Rohingya people?

The Rohingya are an ethnic group, mostly Muslim, who have lived in the area now known as western Myanmar for centuries.

Why are they being persecuted?

The Rohingya people are stateless, unrecognised as citizens by the Myanmar Government, and because of this they frequently face discrimination, violence and extreme poverty.

Where are the Rohingya people going?

More than 680,000 Rohingya, 60% of them children, have walked more than 40 miles to reach safety in Bangladesh. Many children walked for days and have arrived sick, exhausted and in desperate need of clean water, food and shelter.

What's happening now for Rohingya refugees?

After August 2017, thousands of Rohingya refugees fled Myanmar into Bangladesh, with thousands arriving every week in the first months, creating what is now the biggest refugee camp in the world. Unicef staff are on the ground providing life-saving services and supplies that will help prevent and treat disease, protect children from danger and exploitation, and provide a safe space to learn and play.

How is Unicef helping Rohingya refugee children?

We’re on the ground helping to deliver life-saving supplies and services for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.

One of the greatest risks for children is the spread of life-threatening diseases in overcrowded and unsanitary living conditions. To date, we’ve provided over 550,000 people with access to clean, safe water, as well as installing more than 2,000 wells and 11,700 emergency latrines.

We’ve also vaccinated more than 890,000 people against cholera, a deadly waterborne disease. More than 475,000 children have been vaccinated against measles and rubella and over 300,000 have received tetanus, pneumonia or diphtheria vaccines.

A woman feeds a child ready-to-eat-therapeutic food at the Unchiprang Makeshift refugee camp in Cox's bazar district in Bangladesh. Unicef/2017/Brown

A mother feeds her baby high-energy peanut paste to treat severe acute malnutrition. We've screened more than 228,000 newly arrived children for malnutrition and referred more than 9,900 severely malnourished children for treatment.    

Providing a safe place to play

Samira, 12, goes to the Unicef-supported child-friendly space in the camp in Cox’s Bazar. “I love coming here,” she says. “We get to use the blackboard, learn letters, play with different material and write poems.”

So far Unicef has set up 42 child-friendly spaces in Cox’s Bazar, like the one that Samira goes to, which provide a safe space for nearly 115,000 children.

Samira remembers the life that she has had to leave behind. “Back in Myanmar, we had a wooden house with five cows and six goats,” she said. “I really miss my home. I don’t like it here. It’s dirty and it stinks.”

Samira, 12, fled her home in Myanmar and now lives with her family in a camp for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. She goes to the Unicef-supported child-friendly space where she has a chance to learn, play and remember what it's like to be a child again. Unicef/2017/Yoo

Samira, 12, is able to learn and play in safety at the Unicef-supported child friendly space in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh.

There’s still much more we can do

It is a huge challenge to provide the support and services the Rohingya refugees need in Bangladesh. They are spread across official refugee camps, makeshift settlements, host communities and new encampments near to the border. While some of these places have humanitarian services and basic infrastructure, they are overcrowded, difficult to access and extremely vulnerable to floods and landslides during the 6 month rainy season.

But with your help, we can reach more children like Kismat and Samira with life-saving care and protection.


Help us reach more Rohingya children

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