The IKEA Foundation has granted Save the Children €1 million to help Rohingya children who have fled from Myanmar to Bangladesh.
Violence that erupted on 25 August in Myanmar has led to 600,000 people crossing the border into Bangladesh. Around 60% of them are children. Many lack the basics they need for survival—including food, water and shelter.
These people are staying in registered camps, makeshift settlements and host communities around Cox’s Bazar. They join roughly 300,000 Rohingya people who were already living along the border.
At least 1,128 children are unaccompanied and separated from their families. Many more are unattended as their parents look for a place to live and collect relief.
These children are traumatised after witnessing extreme violence and are very vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. Poverty may also force them into child labour and there could be a rise in child marriages. There may also be an increase of physical and humiliating punishment, as the harsh living conditions could lead adults to vent their frustration on children.
Save the Children’s response
Photo credit: Farjana Sultana/ Save the Children. Save the Children is working in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, delivering humanitarian assistance for the Rohingya crisis. They distributing shelter Kits, kitchen kits and hygienic kits for newly arrived families.
Save the Children will provide integrated education and child protection services to Rohingya children who fled from Myanmar and are now living in host communities in Bangladesh.
Save the Children will do this by expanding education spaces and making sure its programmes take child protection into account. This includes meeting people’s immediate needs by providing high-energy biscuits, drinking water and emergency latrines.
Funding UNHCR programmes
Even before the current crisis, thousands of Rohingya families had sought refuge in Bangladesh. Over the past seven years, the IKEA Foundation has funded UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency, to support displaced Rohingya people in Kutupalong and Nayapara refugee camps, in Cox’s Bazar District. The first programme, running from 2011 to 2013, built shelters for 540 families, provided basic education for 8,000 children and offered skills training for 6,000 adults. UNHCR has now expanded schooling to children in their first year of secondary education and provided additional computer skills training.
Thanks to IKEA Foundation funding, UNHCR has increased Rohingya women’s participation in community decision-making, as a first step to tackling domestic violence. Skills training and development of income generating opportunities have also helped empower women in the camps.
UNHCR has also introduced fuel-efficient cook stoves and constructed biogas plants and solar powered mini grids. These provide renewable energy and reduce damage to the local environment.
Shambhavi Sharma, Humanitarian Programme Manager at the IKEA Foundation, said: “We believe all children have the right to a safe place to call home and a quality education—rights that are severely threatened when they are displaced by violence. That is why we have given Save the Children €1 million to help educate and protect Rohingya children who recently arrived in Bangladesh, and it is why we have funded UNHCR’s work with displaced Rohingya families over the past six years.”