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#SpaceOnEarth: Voices of Rohingya children

  • Published at 10:05 pm September 9th, 2018
A young child clutches her younger brother as she looks for her family in the Kutupalong makeshift camp in Ukhia, Bangladesh on October 24, 2017 <strong>Reuters</strong>
File photo: A young child clutches her younger brother as she looks for her family in the Kutupalong makeshift camp in Ukhia, Bangladesh on October 24, 2017 Reuters

Brac urges stronger international dialogues, actions to support the Rohingyas

Brac has launched an international communication campaign titled “#SpaceOnEarth” to help strengthen global support for the Rohingya and for raising the voices of Rohingya children across the globe.

The organization also released a video on the internet at a view exchange program called “One year of standing together for humanity,” where the NGO displayed its one year of activities for the Rohingya people, at Brac Centre auditorium in Dhaka on Sunday.

The description of the video that was released in YouTube said: “Last year, nearly a million Rohingya were forced to flee their homes and seek refuge in Bangladesh. Among them are 500,000 children. They now live in the biggest refugee camp in the world.

“We helped them send a message to you – that in a world as big as ours there must surely be a safe place that they can call home. These children urgently need your help for immediate short term needs whilst the global community works on a long term solution.”

The #SpaceOnEarth video also contained some quotations from a few of the Rohingya children who described being witnesses to the atrocities of Myanmar security forces and their associates that befell on their friends and family.

In the video, it could be seen that some people attached a monitor on a balloon and flew it over a Rohingya camp, which broadcast the video of the Rohingya children conveying their message to the world.

The Rohingya children described how their parents, siblings and relatives were killed and asking if they could fit anywhere in this world as they were stuck in this country.

Sharing their experiences and learning from the humanitarian interventions, some Brac senior officials have said the ongoing international dialogues and actions to support the forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals sheltered in Bangladesh needed to be stronger to ensure a safe and meaningful future for the helpless Rohingya children.

Women and children typically bear the biggest brunt of any disaster. Children are often left with no option but to shoulder the same responsibilities as parents, they added.

Brac Executive Director Dr Muhammad Musa said children were forced to behave like adults. They have seen so much atrocity in their short lives that they have forgotten to cry, as if their childhood was lost.

“We cannot let that happen and the world needs to step in to support the effort to ensure a meaningful future for these children,” the director asserted.

Director of Humanitarian Crisis Management Program in Brac, Dr Md Akramul Islam, giving an overview of the organization's activities for the Rohingya community in the last year, stressed Brac's involvement with both the Rohingya and the host communities.

Director of Advocacy for Social Change KAM Morshed and Director of Communication and Outreach Moutushi Kabir also spoke at the program.

Brac, as one of the very first responders to the crisis, provided emergency services in the first phase, and then expanded into comprehensive, coordinated services in areas such as healthcare, education, skills development and agriculture, as a partner to the government.

Until now, more than 45,000 children have been registered in Brac’s child friendly spaces. Brac’s healthcare centers provided consultation to over 1.1 million people and nearly 150,000 people are now living in shelters built by them.

In addition, Brac has also been serving people from the host communities from Teknaf and Ukhiya with education, life skills, livelihood and emergency support.

According to Bangladesh government, more than 700,000 Rohingyas – mostly women and children fearing for their lives – crossed over to Bangladesh, following a military crackdown in Myanmar’s Rakhine state that began on August 25 last year.

They joined more than 400,000 other refugees who were already living in squalid and cramped refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar.

The video can be accessed here: https://bit.ly/2wOP93f. The video campaign was developed in partnership with Ogilvy and Texel Foundation.