Since August 2017, three quarters of a million Rohingya refugees have been forced by violence to leave their homes in Myanmar. It’s a difficult journey for everyone. For Nosomakatun, a mother of two children with disabilities, it was even harder.
When arson and killings began to occur against the Rohingya people in her neighbourhood, Nosomakatun became concerned. Polio had left her 20-year-old son Kafietuila and 10-year-old daughter Shahida unable to walk. “Because of my children,” she remembers, “I couldn’t flee at a moment’s notice.”
Eventually forced from their home, Nosomakatun’s family began an incomprehensible journey—her husband carrying full grown Kafietuila and her other daughter carrying Shahida for seven days.
In the shelter of camp, this family’s problems continued. Rations of rice, lentils and oil did not meet their requirements for vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables, so Nosomakatun had to watch as her loved ones became sick. While her son “wished to go outside and enjoy a cool open space,” Nosomakatun comments, his immobility restricted him to sitting on the dirt ground where he was at risk of contracting dysentery.
Working with partners at Canadian Foodgrains Bank, PWS&D is providing food vouchers to over 13,000 Rohingyan households (62,000 people) living in Bangladesh. With the vouchers, families can purchase a variety of nutritious foods to complement the rice, oil and lentils they are receiving from the World Food Programme. Families are also receiving training to help them understand the nutritional advantages of these diverse food items.
With this support, Nosomakatun’s family and other Rohingya refugees can have a small sense of normal as they purchase food at local markets according to their needs and preferences. Now, any money they have is freed up for other necessary supplies that will increase their health and well-being.
These days, Nosomakatun can be seen in the camp cooking up a variety of vegetables, dried fish and eggs in a new bamboo house. She is grateful to see her family safe, better nourished and more resilient to illness. “Here, there are no worries about security. We are so thankful for the food diversity.”
Respond with PWS&D to meet the urgent food needs of families who have been forced to flee violence.
You can make a donation through your church, by mailing a cheque, donating online or calling 1-800-619-7301 x291. Please mark your donation “Rohingya.”