The distressed, displaced population of Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh has approximately 67 per cent of women who are disproportionately affected by previous and persistent gender injustice, gender-based violence and abuse. Yet despite hardships, these conflict survivors have emerged as frontline responders to address the protection needs of young girls and women in refugee camps.
The alarming need for safe spaces for forcibly displaced Rohingya women has inspired JRS and partner Caritas Bangladesh to create the Multi-purpose Child and Adolescent Centre (MCAC) to encourage leadership among the women and to provide volunteering opportunities.
Hosneara is one of the exemplary vocational trainers of the MCAC project. She is well versed in tailoring, hand embroidery, and stitching. Her desire to lead community services remained unaltered during the pandemic.
To encourage the practice of COVID-19 prevention measures, Hosneara sewed reusable face masks that she distributed throughout the community. She initiated a project to teach facemask production to adolescent girls at the MCAC vocational classes, and together they distributed hundreds of face masks to the children there. She even provided support to Rohingya women and children outside of the MCAC project by offering them free facemask stitching classes.
Paid volunteering at the MCAC gave Hoseara financial stability, and she was able to buy her own sewing machine to take care of her family’s need while serving her community.
“I cannot express how happy I feel whenever I see the children wearing masks that I have stitched. I always hope that no one will become sick. I wish to continue working at the MCAC project where I find peace and joy in my work.”
Besides Hosneara, fifteen facilitators and three caseworkers at the MCAC are Rohingya women, and they are leading the COVID-19 awareness efforts in the camps. JRS – Caritas Bangladesh celebrated their successful contribution towards the welfare of vulnerable refugees during the commemoration of International Women’s Day.
“In Myanmar, I never heard about Women’s Day. It feels like the Eid festival today. I would like to thank JRS – Caritas Bangladesh for organizing such a wonderful event,” said one of the facilitators.