Cox’s Bazar — Jamalida, 18 years old, lives with her sisters and mother in a makeshift settlement in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Until a few weeks ago, she lived in the country of her birth and the only country that she had ever known, Myanmar. Now, she is a refugee.
“My father was killed on our way here,” said Jamalida timidly, as she stood in her family’s shelter and explained that her mother was out working as a domestic helper to support her and her sisters.
Without any men in the family, the girls and their mother are struggling to make enough to get by. They also find it difficult to go out to aid distributions in the settlement alone. As young women, they do not feel comfortable or safe.
When they arrived in the settlement at the height of the monsoon season, the all-female household had to hire day labourers to build their shelter, which is put together with bamboo and thin, ripped polythene sheet. Without any money of their own, they relied on private donations from Bangladeshis, who are helping many vulnerable families. IOM, the UN Migration Agency, also hires Rohingya refugees to help families like Jamalida’s to build their shelters.
IOM’s team in the makeshift settlement where Jamalida lives searches for families like hers — ones that need extra support. They survey their shelters to check their living conditions. After Jamalida’s shelter was surveyed, the family was given a token that they can exchange for materials to reinforce their new home and protect them from the elements. IOM will also ensure that they have help installing the materials.