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IOM Bangladesh Rohingya Crisis Response - Monthly Situation Report (August 2019)

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A small change to IOM Protection's Women and Girls Safe Spaces {WGSS) has had a significant impact on young Rohingya refugee mothers. Since 2018, the Spaces have served as veritable community centres for woman left with few places to gather outside of their homes. In addition to offering a forum to meet friends and community members, the Spaces offer skills-trainings as well as information exchange and social support. For many Rohingya women the WGSS offer the only opportunity to voice feedback on everything from cyclone preparations to mitigating risk of human trafficking. However a review early this year by IOM Protection found that a lack of daycare options meant many young mothers were opting out of the Spaces. "Child care is a huge challenge for all parents, but for Rohingya refugees, its especially difficult because daycare services aren't available and there are no parks, playgrounds or public spaces in the camps." This holds many mothers back from the otherwise-inclusive WGSS and meant those who did come were distracted, unable to engage fully in the activities before them because one eye remained fixed on their young ones. In August IOM Protection addressed this challenge by designating Child Friendly Corners that offer supervised child play. "The improvement is a simple one, but it has a tremendous impact on both attendance and stress levels of women that come out" said Protection Programme Manager Chissey Mueller. As of September, Protection established five Corners, with two more pinned for coming months. In addition to relieving the stress of busy mothers, the Spaces give children access to psychosocial support and referrals. The Corners initiative comes on the back of stepped-up Protection efforts incorporating child emergency protection, development and psychosocial support training, According to Mueller, the Centres also give simple respite "Sometimes mothers just need a rest?

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