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Humanitarian crisis management programme: Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh - HCMP Communiqué (September 2021)

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Ensuring safe return to classrooms

After a prolonged school closure of 18 months countrywide, the Government of Bangladesh has reopened schools on 12 September 2021.

In line with that, BRAC Humanitarian Crisis Management Programme (HCMP) has resumed its educational activities in 50 non-formal BRAC schools in the host communities of Cox’s Bazar, while maintaining comprehensive health safety protocols.

Following the ‘Back to School’ guidance, students are allowed to enter the classroom after proper handwashing and measuring their body temperature.

The learning centres in the Rohingya camps have also been sanitised and refurbished. Handwashing stations have been installed in all the learning centres as per the instruction of the Refugee Relief Repatriation Commissioner’s office. BRAC has observed an attendance of almost 81% children in 446 learning centres in different camps. The camp in-charges also visited several learning centres to monitor the safety protocols and expressed their satisfaction.

Rokeya (11), a learner at BRAC stated, “I am feeling so happy to recall my lessons and meet my friends after eighteen months!” She also mentioned that the learning centre facilitators are encouraging them to maintain physical distancing and wear masks.

BRAC is working with the Bangladesh government to ensure a prosperous future for children by ensuring a safe and happy return to the classrooms.

BRAC Executive Director visits Cox’s Bazar and Bhasan Char

Cox’s Bazar: Asif Saleh, Executive Director of BRAC, visited BRAC HCMP’s regional office in Cox’s Bazar on 15 September 2021. KAM Morshed, Senior Director of Advocacy for Social Change, Migration, Partnership Strengthening Unit, Social Innovation Lab, and Technology at BRAC, accompanied him during the visit. The Executive Director and Senior Director exchanged views on bringing dynamism and synchronisation to the strategic plans for the wellbeing of people living in marginalised conditions, and met the Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner to express appreciation for his relentless support to BRAC. They discussed several key issues and the way forward for the Rohingya response. They also met the senior officials of six partner NGOs and emphasised utilising partnership capacities more effectively and realistically in emergency humanitarian assistance.

Bhasan Char: Mr Asif Saleh along with BRAC HCMP’s senior management also visited Bhasan Char on 23-24 September. The team attended a meeting with the Additional Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner (ARRRC) to discuss BRAC HCMP’s activities and scope in the Bhasan Char context. The ‘Ashrayan’ project director presented BRAC’s progress in the humanitarian journey at Bhasan Char on enabling livelihood opportunities and improving communication mechanisms for the Rohingya community. The team visited the big pond re-excavation site, five learning centres, and five adolescent clubs. Throughout the visit, Mr Saleh had discussions with the community people including site workers, teachers, and learners.

Sadia Yesmin: Encouraging women youth leadership in the Rohingya community

Sadia Yesmin (18) lives in a Rohingya camp in Cox’s Bazar. She works as a community volunteer with BRAC HCMP, where she builds a bridge between her community’s women and BRAC-implemented activities for women’s protection and empowerment.

Sadia conducts four to five household-based sessions with women from the Rohingya community, where she raises awareness on safeguarding, capacity building, and livelihood strategies. BRAC engaged Sadia in numerous capacity building initiatives on basic literacy, household budgeting, and inventory management, to help her become a training facilitator for the women in her community. BRAC’s support, paired with Sadia’s commitment to help people has made it possible for her to become a youth leader within her community.

“Our community’s women are falling behind from all the opportunities. I wish that one day, every woman will think like me to be independent.”

BRAC is expanding its support for all women and girls from the Rohingya and host communities in Cox’s Bazar, where Sadia and her peers can provide support for the women in these communities.