International News
2020.06.16
UN Women and Rohingya women on the front line of COVID-19 response

The world in lockdown has created a profound shock to our societies and economies, and women are at the heart of care and response efforts underway. Primarily as caregivers, women are not just sustaining families, but also serving as front-line responders, mainly in the health and service sector.

In Cox’s Bazar, where the world’s largest refugee camp lies, Rohingya women face further increased gender-based violence due to the heightened tension within households and within the camp. This heightened tension is often caused from restrictions on income generating activities needed to sustain families. Despite these odds, Rohingya women are serving as front-line workers to protect their families and communities. One unique way they are doing this is by producing masks to fill a significant gap of personal protective equipment (PPE) in the market. 

Over 50,000 masks are being produced and the manufacturing is being managed by partners in UN Women’s five multi-purpose Women’s centers in the camps, engaging 163  Rohingya women and girls with 46 families run as single female headed households. 

One of them, Shetara, a 25-year-old Rohingya woman was trained by one of UN Women’s partner organisations. A mother of 3 children, she fled to Bangladesh during the 2017 outbreak of armed conflict in Rakhine State, Myanmar, when her husband was killed. Back in Rakhine State, her family was self-sufficient owning land and livestock.

But now in the refugee camp, like more than 859,000 refugees, she is fully reliant on humanitarian aid, just to survive. With the mask production, she is now able to earn 2,720 BDT, that equals to 32 USD per week. This is her first ever income and the highest her family has ever earned. Shetara is happy, “I have money to celebrate Eid and I hope to earn more for my children’s education and for my family”

Whole news: https://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2020/6/feature-rohingya-women-on-the-front-line-of-covid-19-response

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