Rohingya crisis: supporting refugees in Bangladesh

Posted on: Friday, 2nd February, 2018
Haris, a three-year-old boy, receives physiotherapy from CBM's local partner in Bangladesh, following the refuge crisis in Rohingya

Since August 2017, more than half a million Rohingya people have fled horrific violence in the northern Rakhine province of Myanmar (Burma), seeking refuge in neighbouring Bangladesh. Hundreds of thousands of women, men and children are living in tents and makeshift shelters in overcrowded refugee camps, with food and medical care in short supply.

CBM is working with our long-term partner, Bangladesh’s Centre for Disability in Development (CDD), to support some of the most vulnerable people living in refugee camps in Cox’s Bazaar, distributing blankets to over 2000 families and providing medical care and rehabilitation, counselling and safe spaces for children.

Medical care and rehabilitation

Haris, a three-year-old boy, receives physiotherapy from CBM's local partner in Bangladesh, following the refuge crisis in Rohingya.

Around 100 patients per day have been receiving health care at our medical camp, which provides rehabilitation, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and counselling services.

3 year-old Haris (right and main picture above) receives physiotherapy at the medical camp. He has a physical disability but with daily exercises his legs are getting stronger and he can walk more easily. Haris lives with his family in a tiny shelter made from bamboo and plastic sheeting in a refugee camp in Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh. The family left their home when neighbouring villages were burned.

Rasheda is being fitted with glasses at the CBM clinic in Bangladesh.

Life in an unfamiliar environment like a refugee camp, is particularly hard if you can’t see well to find your way around. Rasheda has problems with both long and short sight. The refractionists at our clinic fitted her with glasses - being able to see better will make a big difference for her in her day-to-day life.

Psychological support and counselling

Shanaj, 55, pictured below, tells how she and her family fled for their lives when soldiers set fire to their house. Her husband and son-in-law were both killed during their escape.

Shanaj and her family sitting in their shelter at the refugee camp.

Now living in a refugee camp, Shanaj feels safe but getting enough food, or fuel to cook, is difficult, and she has struggled to cope with the traumatic loss of her husband. Distressed and anxious, she has been experiencing nightmares and flashback memories.

Providing immediate support to people like Shanaj is vital to help them cope and reduce the chance that they will experience long-term mental health problems, so she receives regular visits from a counsellor, through our programme.

A space to play


Life for children in Bangladesh’s refugee camps is tough. Forced to leave their homes and everything that is familiar to them, they are living in overcrowded conditions with food in short supply. Many have also witnessed violence and lost family members.

With our partner CDD, CBM is providing a child-friendly space where boys and girls, including those with disabilities, can come for medical check-ups, rehabilitation facilities and just to play for a while. The teachers who run the groups have been trained to include girls and boys with disabilities and organise activities such as singing, dancing and drawing.


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