The Rohingya refugee women: symbolizing hope during COVID 19 emergency

20 June 2024

The distressed displaced population of Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh has approximately 67 percent of women who are disproportionately affected by pre-existing, persistent gender injustice, gender-based violence and abuse. Yet, despite hardships these conflict survivors have emerged as frontline responders to address the protection needs of young girls and women in camps. The alarming need of safe spaces for forcibly displaced Rohingya women has inspired JRS – Caritas Bangladesh Multi-purpose Child and Adolescent Center (MCAC) to encourage leadership among them by providing volunteering opportunities.

Hosneara, is one of the exemplary vocational trainers of MCAC project. She is well versed in tailoring, hand embroidery and stitching. Her spirit to lead community services remained unaltered during pandemic; She encouraged her community members to follow COVID19 prevention measures beside distributing and explaining the use of reusable facemasks that she sewed. She even initiated to teach facemask production to adolescent girls at the MCAC vocational classes. Together, they have distributed about hundreds of face masks to children who attend MCAC. In her pursuit to support greater Rohingya distressed women and children, she even conducted free facemask stitching classes outside the MCAC.

Paid volunteering at the MCAC has financially empowered Hosneara who has bought her own sewing machine to take care of her family’s need while serving her community.

“I cannot express how happy I feel whenever I see the children wearing mask that I have stitched. I always wish that no one should fall sick. I wish to continue working at MCAC project where I find peace and joy in my works.”

Beside Hosneara, fifteen facilitators and three caseworkers at the MCAC are Rohingya women who are leading the COVID-19 awareness efforts in the camps. JRS – Caritas Bangladesh celebrated their infallible contribution towards the welfare of vulnerable refugees during the commemoration of International Women’s Day.

“In Myanmar, I never heard about Women’s Day. It feels like the Eid festival today; I would like to thank JRS- Caritas Bangladesh for organizing such a wonderful event.”