The series of camps that make up the settlement were carved out of the forest in southern Bangladesh in 2017 to shelter hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees fleeing violence in western Myanmar’s Rakhine State. Nearly one million people are now crammed into an area of just 17 square kilometres. Bamboo shelters throng the hillsides and narrow roads teem with pedestrians, rickshaws, humanitarian vehicles and traders. It is no wonder that Samia looks skyward for a sense of peace.
“When I see a flock of birds flying nearby, I feel good,” she says. “I like the sound of the birds.”
After arriving in Bangladesh, following a traumatic journey from Myanmar, Samia was dismayed to see the forest being destroyed as trees were cleared to make way for shelters.
“When I first came here, I saw people kill wild animals when they entered the camps. They cut the trees and threw them away to cultivate the land. And people used to litter everywhere.”
Thanks, in part, to her efforts and those of other young Rohingya refugees in Kutupalong, attitudes towards wildlife and the surrounding forest are starting to change.
Samia belongs to one of five youth groups in the camps that, along with five similar groups in the surrounding host community, have received training on environmental issues from UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and its partner organization, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). They have learned about the links between destroying trees and vegetation and the climate crisis that increasingly impacts their daily lives.
Dec 01, 2022The Netherlands has decided to provide $7.5 million dollars through the International Organization for Migration (IOM) for the welfare of forcibly displaced Rohingyas and their host community in Cox’s Bazar district. An agreement between the Netherlands embassy in Dhaka and IOM was signed in this regard to implement a project styled ‘Restoring the Environment and […]
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