Rohingya IDP Camp Odyssey 2018
Mary and I wanted to help get the Rohingya peoples’ story out to the world since we first heard about their plight in 2017. Characterized as “the world’s most persecuted minority” by the United Nations High Commission on Human Rights, the Rohingyas started fleeing Myanmar in 2017 after being brutally persecuted by Myanmar army forces. More than 1 million Rohingyas now live in refugee camps along the Myanmar-Bangladesh border.
On July 3, 2018, Mary and I traveled to Dhaka, Bangladesh. There, we met with the National Council of Churches in Bangladesh (NCCB), our newest partner at the time, to discuss what had been done thus far to assist the refugees in their great hour of need. Together with NCCB, we made plans to visit the Rohingya people later that week to collect stories and deliver 1,000 umbrellas donated by tumbuh friends and supporters. Umbrellas are requested by aid workers and UN officials to assist the Rohingyas during the monsoon season for obvious reasons. Apparently, one’s ability to stay dry during monsoon season has a direct effect on one’s ability to fend off water-borne illnesses in the camps.
On July 5, 2018, Mary and I arrived in the coastal town of Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, the closest town to the Rohingya refugee camps (on the border). From there, NCCB coordinated the order, transport, and delivery of the umbrellas to the camps collected by tumbuh. NCCB was also gracious enough to work out details with the Bangladeshi army for Mary and me to be able to enter the camps, on two separate days, in order to survey the situation firsthand and speak directly with Rohingya men, women and children about their experience fleeing persecution in Myanmar.
Bangladesh has graciously opened its borders to over 1 million Rohingya refugees despite its own lack of resources and infrastructure. We call on the international community to:
1)offer what supplemental support you can to assist the Bangladeshi people in caring and providing for the Rohingya people
2) and demand that Myanmar be held accountable for unspeakable human rights abuses at the hands of top leadership.
We are in conversation with the National Council of Churches in Bangladesh about how best to continue supporting the Rohingya people through Tumbuh Global.