Our day with Rohingya refugees

After riding for an hour along the Bay of Bengal coastal road, we entered the
first camp, called Kutapalong. Where we were received by the Director’s
camp who is a represent of the Bangladesh government.

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After a speech and giving them small gifts, we divided in two groups and we visited water collection, water treatment plant and bio-gas. The bio-gas needs some explanation: If you put something organic, in this case we talking about excrement, in a place completely closed, it will produce methane which will be the bio-gas. Then you inject the bio-gas in the gas tube and you can use it for cooking on a stove, exactly as the same way as the natural gas. This means that they have to collect all the excrement from the latrines. In this camp, the water reserve is rather good because they have found water by drilling, but they still have to treat it. After this, we visited the shelters, small dark rooms, with no windows, dirty floors, with no hygiene existing at all.

Some shelters had some  light coming in, but only because the roof was broken and when it rains, it rains inside, and the rain period should be here in a few days. When we left the small shelters, we took a narrow road among the shelters with children and women doing their regular housework we ended up on a square and we had one of the biggest emotion of the day. Sixteen Rohingya women, all dressed in Burka holding a banners asking us to communicate this: “WARMLY WELCOME DONATOR, YOUR UN DELEGATION TEAM, FOR VISITING THE MOST PERSECUTED ROHINGYA REFUGEES WE URGE FOR DURABLE SOLUTION SOON”,”WE DON’T WANT TO STAY ANY LONGER WITH REFUGEE LIFE IN BANGLADESH BECAUSE IT’S A SMALL COUNTRY WITH A LARGE POPULATION”,”WE WANT TO HAVE THE SAME HUMAN RIGHTS AS ANY OTHER PERSON IN THE WORLD, HELP US TO STOP THE ROHINGYA ETHNIC CLEANSING IN MYNAMAR”. It is for us very important that this message goes through.

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Before leaving the camp we visited the different confection work shops, the tailors and wood craft workers who are producing furniture. They also produce products like soap and tooth cleaning powder. Some goes to their own use and some of it is sold in the village near by. And we had the occasion to buy some of their own production.

On the way to the second camp, we stop by a school, where children from Rohingya has received their own solar lamp from the IKEA Foundation.It was a great  moment to hear the children explain to us how they studying easier.

Blog 05-05 P1050615After this we join the cars for a one hour trip to the second camp Nayapara, and we meet its chef. Here we visited the health care center, where they treat something simple like diarrhea and they also have a mother and new born children protection program.

We now visited one of the 11 schools. Here we have opportunity to give small gifts to the children like soft-toys, papers and pencils. They all sang english songs and they were very happy to see us. This was a very strong moment for us!

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We also have the opportunity to visit a shelter where a solar lamp have been given, we could see that is a good start, but much more can and have to be done!!! IKEA is now going to install outdoor street laps, and the refugees camp assured to us the maintenance will be done by a team of the refugees.

In the end, before going home, Sadiqur from the UNHCR, explain to us about a very big problem in this camp. Water. Here there’s no water in the soil and after the rain period, the water is filtered in a huge filter made by small stones, then the “clean” water’s going through a pipeline to a huge reserve. At this moment we where visiting, there was no more water left so UNHCR provide water from outside and they can only distribute 12L per person, per day. We now say good bye to the second camp, cause it was a really rich day!

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