Local and foreign NGOs are recruiting local youths in Cox's Bazar in helping them with aid work
The ongoing Rohingya crisis, which has created various problems for both the host community and the displaced people from Rakhine state of Myanmar, have also created employment opportunities for a good number of local youths in Cox’s Bazar.
Local and foreign NGOs that are working to aid Rohingyas are recruiting youths who are either pursuing their honours and master’s studies, or have already completed their graduation and post-graduation – current students on a part-time and graduates on a full-time basis – as their native language is similar to the Rohingya language.
The local students pursuing higher education appreciated such scope as this creates a source of income that would supplement their educational expenses and help them contribute to their families.
Cox’s Bazar district administration sources said about 70 native and foreign NGOs are working at the 12 camp areas at Ukhiya and Teknaf upazilas by coordinating with the army and other administrative bodies of Bangladesh government.
“Several thousand local youths are working with the NGOs at the field level and it is improving their skills on disaster management. In future, they can tackle the troubles and sufferings caused by any disaster they face in their own lives,” said Ukhiya’s Upazila Nirbahi Officer Md Nikaruzzaman.
Jamtoli Rohingya Camp Site Coordinator Md Monir Uddin said: “The NGOs are recruiting the local youths as they are energetic and naturally have good command over the Rohingya language.”
Zakia Nishita, who has completed her LLB and LLM from the University of Chittagong, said the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) had appointed her for monitoring newly arriving Rohingyas at Hakimpara Camp as she is fluent in both English and Rohingya languages.
Khairul Amin, an undergraduate student studying business at Cox’s Bazar Government College, is working as a volunteer of Christian Aid to collect information about the sheltered Rohingyas.
He told the Dhaka Tribune: “It is an experience to work with such an international organisation that will help my professional career in the future. Besides, I also got the chance to observe the Rohingya people’s sufferings first hand.”
His classmate Shakil Uddin, who is also working at the same position with the same NGO, said: “21 students of our college are working with Christian Aid in the same position, and that is amazing. We get a handsome remuneration and are paid daily.”
Jesmin Akhter of the mathematics department of the same college said: “I am working for Christian Aid while also training with World Food Programme (WFP). These opportunities are improving my professional capabilities.”
Sazzad Hossain, communication officer of international NGO Doctors Without Borders [Médecins Sans Frontières] said MSF has been working with Rohingyas for several years and the organisation has given priority to locals for field level tasks.
Shariful Islam, a district sales officer of Sharif Melamine Private Company, said he was also working with WFP as an animator.
Mahmudul Hoque, a Fazil-studying student of Rajapalang MPO Fazil Degree Madrasa, working for WFP said: “Madrasa students are ignored by local organisations. By serving at an international organisation, I hope to become an example in the future.”
Md Abdullah, a graduation-level student, said that he was earning a good amount which is allowing him to contribute to his family.
The NGO Humanity First’s Coordinator Zafor Ahmad said: “There is no other option here but to take locally-educated people to carry out the aid distribution programme. The local youths are the best people for communicating with both Rohingyas and the foreign aid workers.”
According to Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commission, around 627,500 Rohingyas entered Bangladesh since August 25 after being displaced by the crackdown by the Myanmar army.
Terming the oppression as “textbook example of ethnic cleansing”, the United Nations said that Myanmar army and local mobs have since burned all of the estates on the ground after raping and killing many of the inhabitants.