Tony Lloyd MP heads delegation to Bangladesh to oversee humanitarian work for the Rohingya
The Shadow Housing Minister and MP for Rochdale, Tony Lloyd MP, recently returned back from a visit to Bangladesh where he led a delegation from the UK comprising of delegates from the Rochdale Council of Mosques, Al-Mahmood Foundation, Children of Adam, Humanity without Borders and philanthropists and supporters of Muslim Charity.
The delegation arrived in Dhaka, Bangladesh, where they first went to visit the Thikana Transitional Shelter which is funded by the #ChildrenOfTheWorld campaign of Muslim Charity.
The street children phenomenon in the world is one of deep concern with more than 150 million children on the streets in the world and Dhaka is one of the cities where this is a major problem. Chased from home by violence, abuse, the death of a parent, family breakdown, or simply socio-economic collapse, many destitute children are forced to eke out a living on the streets, scavenging, begging, hawking in the slums. Over the past 4 years, Muslim Charity has rescued more than 2,000 street children and many of them have either been reintegrated back into their families or referred onwards to permanent shelters.
The delegates met with some of the children rescued from the streets and heard of their shocking and eye-watering stories of how they ended up on the streets. One particular child’s story caught the emotions of the delegates when a child commented how he loved being at the Thikana Transitional Shelter because it was the only thing that reminded him of his “mother’s lap”, his mother had passed away a few months earlier and his step-mother used to beat him which led him to the streets.
The delegation then left for Cox’s Bazar where they got an opportunity to meet the Rohingya and see the emergency and development programmes being implemented by Muslim Charity at first hand.
Since the hostilities of 25th August 2017, more than 620,000 new Rohingya have arrived into Cox’s Bazar bringing the total population to more than 830,000. New arrivals are living in overcrowded camps with increasing needs of humanitarian assistance, including shelter, food, clean water and sanitation.
The delegation visited the following projects being implemented in the camps for the Rohingya:
- Water Solutions – costing £15,000 each water solution comprises of a deep water borehole linked with 4 water reservoirs (each with a capacity of 5,000 litres of water) and through an innovative piping scheme the water is pumped to the top of the hills where the Rohingya are living. Each day a water solution is able to provide clean and safe drinking water to up 10,000 people per day.
- Child-Friendly Space – amongst the newly arrived Rohingya, 50% are children under the age of 16. The atrocities that they have witnessed at such a young age cannot be imagined, many of them having witnessed their own mothers, fathers and relatives being killed in front of their eyes. The Child-Friendly Space is a staffed area run by qualified child psychologists where children can come and play as well as participate in non-formal schooling. Each Child-Friendly Space costs £15,000 a year to run and the one visited by the delegation attracts 500 children per day.
- Shelters – Muslim Charity has completed 120 shelters and aims to complete 1,000 shelters over the coming months subject to donations being received. Each shelter costs £350 and can accommodate one family of up to 6 members and is handed over to Rohingya families along with a household-items kit which include mats, blankets, bed sheets and cooking apparatus.
- Medical aid – regular medical camps that are staffed by qualified medical practitioners provide treatment to seasonal illnesses and for the critical cases there is a referral system with local government hospitals as well as NGO field hospitals. Patients are thereby transported via the Muslim Charity funded emergency response vehicles.
- Winter kit distributions – as the winter season begins in the region, the delegation participated in the distribution of winter kits for Rohingya families which comprised of blankets, shawls, warm clothing etc all of which were sourced locally.
Commenting whilst in Cox’s Bazar the Shadow Housing Minister and MP for Rochdale, Tony Lloyd MP said, “I have seen the camps where the refugees are living and sometimes the conditions there are simply not good enough for human beings but they are improving because of the work being done by charities like Muslim Charity and their local partners on the ground. That work can only be done because of the contribution from people in Britain and I pay particular tribute to the Al-Mahmood Foundation, the Rochdale Council of Mosques and generous donors from Rochdale for their support in this cause.”
The Chairman of Rochdale Council of Mosques, Tahir Mahmood, commented, “I am here to oversee all the donations made by the Rochdale community and am pleased that it has been spent wisely and reached the people it was supposed to reach. We cannot share the pain of the Rohingya, but by donating we can at lease ease their pain.”
The UK Director of Muslim Charity, Maroof Pirzada, commented, “We are grateful to the members of the delegation for taking time out to visit and personally see the impact of their donations. Muslim Charity believes in openness and transparency and it gives us no greater satisfaction than to take donors out on the field so that they can personally experience how their donations are used to maximise the impact on needy beneficiaries.”
Some photos from the visit to the Muslim Charity Street Children Transitional Shelter in Dhaka, Bangladesh:
Some photos from the visit to the Rohingya Refugees camps in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh: