Jemima Jewell, a trustee of Concern UK, visits Cox’s Bazaar - the world’s largest refugee camp where almost a million people are now living, having been forced to flee their homes. Here, she vividly narrates her experience and the people she met, and outlines what is being done to help the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.
The camp stretches as far as the eye can see. Makeshift houses - mostly bamboo and tarpaulin - perch on the side of perilously steep slopes. They will surely not be able to withstand the Monsoon rains which will inevitably lash down in the coming months.
We are visiting the huge refugee camp in Cox's Bazaar, Southern Bangladesh, which houses nearly a million Rohingya people who have fled their home country of Myanmar. Having escaped persecution, they now find themselves facing a difficult and uncertain future.
Concern has supported families in the camp since 2017, and we visit some of their homes. Sitting on the floor in Lu Min’s* house, she tells us about the awful violence - the threat to their village, their family, their lives - that forced her, along with her husband and seven children, to leave and make the long journey on foot to Bangladesh. It is nothing short of heartbreaking. Do they want to return, we ask? 'Not until it is safe'.
Concern’s work in the camp is diverse, but it centres around a number of Outpatient Therapeutic Centres. The OTC is a model of specialist nutritional support that was pioneered by Concern. Many people visit the OTC on a regular basis; they receive advice and nutritional supplements, but the focus is very much on support for mothers to care for their children in the home.