As families around the world prepare for Christmas Day, hundreds of thousands of people crammed into makeshift camps in Bangladesh will mark four months since the mass exodus from Myanmar.
Some 640,000 Rohingya people have crossed the border into the Cox’s Bazar camps since August 25 and a staggering 378,000 are children – more than 60 per cent.
Most of the children arrived with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Many of them are extremely traumatised from the perilous journey. Yet despite all they have endured, they still find a way to be kids.
The children are crafting toys out of junk they find around the camp: plastic bag kites, balloons on a string, little cars on strings fashioned out of plastic bottles.
They are extremely vulnerable, particularly those who are orphaned or lost. Conditions are unsanitary, cramped and they are exposed to disease and the elements. Unaccompanied and separated children continue to face the risk of trafficking, early marriage and child labor.
As we look ahead to the next 12 months of this crisis, Plan International’s priority is to ensure children are safe and protected.
We are working to safeguard the children here, particularly the babies and little ones who lost their parents. They must be protected at all costs.
Plan International has already reached 60,000 people and is working to assist more than 250,000 Rohingya people with a particular focus on child protection, learning and safe and sanitary access to showers and toilets.
Our aid workers have held community consultations, speaking with children themselves, to ensure we know exactly what they need and how best to help them.
Plan International’s Child Protection in Emergencies work will include finding and reuniting lost children with loved ones, in partnership with the Department of Social Services of Bangladesh. We will provide counselling for traumatized children and teenagers.
This is all such important work in difficult conditions. Now is the time to show your support.