2018 - Year End Donation- Refugee Women (A message to our Friends & Supporters)

Dear Friends,

Thank you for your support of UN Women and its programs in 100 countries around the world. This giving season, we are bringing awareness to a crucial program providing Rohingya refugees with much-needed supplies, shelter and peer support. 

Today, Bangladesh, is host to 1 million Rohingya refugees, an ethnic group from Myanmar, making it one of the fastest-growing refugee crises in the world. Since the eruption of wide spread violence in August 2017, some 693,000 Rohingya’s have made their way to Cox’s Bazar in desperate conditions. Of them, 51 % are women. The refugee population in Bangladeshi settlements has more than doubled over time; camps are overcrowded, needs are immediate and enormous, and resources are stretched.

Mahmuda Beguma young woman of 23,  lives in a flimsy shelter at Moynerghona, Balukhali camp, in Cox’s Bazar. She was 8 months pregnant when she fled Myanmar and in September 2017, gave birth to a baby boy. She urgently needed clothes, medicines and hygiene products for herself and the newborn child—items that are not typically found in relief kits.  UN Women with Action Aid and the Bangladesh Ministry of Women’s Affairs took action by distributing “dignity kits” to more than 8,000 Rohingya women refugees. The kits have soap, clothing, scarves, menstrual hygiene products, and products for new mothers, as well as solar lamps, blankets, and alternative cooking fuel—compressed rice husk briquettes—to reduce women’s exposure to smoke.

In the makeshift Rohingya camp at Balukhali, Cox’s Bazar, it’s common to hear stories of burned homes and missing children. The Rohingya women tell stories of their murdered husbands and rape, of losing hope in human-kind. 

In January 2018, UN Women set up the first Multi-Purpose Women’s Centre (MPWC) in the Balukhali refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, in partnership with Action Aid and with support from the UN Women National Committee of Australia. A second women’s center has recently been opened in Ukhiya, and more are needed.

The Centers are one-stop information hubs for women to access life-saving information and participate in awareness sessions on health, nutrition, prevention of gender-based violence, and other issues. They also offer referrals to services, psycho-social support, skills training and peer mentoring with Rohingya women who arrived in Bangladesh before the crisis of August 2017.

You can make a difference in the lives of women refugees and stand in support of women fleeing war and crisis. Consider a gift to UN Women’ s humanitarian programs and support women  in the camps of Cox Bazar, the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

Your generosity will help a woman live free from violence and give her a chance to contribute to a more peaceful and resilient world.

With deep gratitude,

Mary M. Luke, President


USNC-UN Women, Metro NY Chapter

P.S. UN Women can’t do its vital work every day without YOU! Thank you for taking action for a woman who needs you.

 All photos: UN Women/Allison Joyce

Mary Luke