An estimated 688,000 Rohingya refugees have recently arrived in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh, fleeing persecution in their home country of Myanmar
An estimated 688,000 Rohingya refugees have recently arrived in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh, fleeing persecution in their home country of Myanmar.
Many humanitarian agencies have been attempting to distribute essential relief items such as clothes, soaps, and menstrual hygiene products and flashlights to women, in what are being called “dignity kits”.
The unmet demand for these kits is huge due to the sheer number of incoming refugees.
Between December 2017 and January 2018, UN Women, ActionAid and the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs Bangladesh distributed dignity kits to 7,893 households, specifically targeting those that were headed by females or housed pregnant, lactating, or adolescent girls and women and those with special needs.
Refugees have been arriving into Bangladesh from Myanmar for almost three decades, however, the escalating violence in Rakhine State has displaced record numbers of Rohingya people since August 2017, over half of which are women and girls.
Arriving into the camps with very few possessions, money or support, women face even more challenges than men, for example, poor lighting.
Solar lamps provided in the dignity kits are helping to keep women safe after dark as they go to access toilet or water facilities.
UN Women has also provided more than 6,000 households with rice husk briquettes as an alternative source of fuel.
These briquettes release less smoke and so improve the living conditions of refugees, who have suffered respiratory and eye problems from prolonged exposure to firewood emissions within tents.
Blankets were also provided as cold weather descended on Cox’s Bazar in December.
Shoko Ishikawa, Country Representative of UN Women in Bangladesh, said: “UN Women is aware that women and men have different needs and vulnerabilities in the time of crisis.
“Our role is to build awareness of the humanitarian community about these differences so that we can prevent women and girls from being marginalized in the relief activities and left behind.