No place to raise a child
As families across Australia celebrate the festive season together, we hope that they take a moment to remember the children in Cox’s Bazar, who have so little but somehow manage to create small moments of joy in even the most heartbreaking of circumstances.
Most of the children arrived with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Many of them are extremely traumatised from the perilous journey.
Yet despite all they have endured, they still find a way to just be kids.
The children craft toys out of junk they find around the camp: plastic bag kites, balloons on a string, little cars on strings fashioned out of plastic bottles.
Christmas Day marks four months since the mass exodus from Myanmar.
More than 625000 Rohingya people have crossed the border into the Cox’s Bazar camps since August 25.
Of the new arrivals, 378000 are children.
As life in the camp becomes more stable and infrastructure around the camps improves, the laughter of children has started to return.
Yet this is no place to raise a child.
Conditions are unsanitary and disease outbreaks, including deadly cholera and diphtheria, have occurred.
Unaccompanied and separated children continue to be at risk of early marriage, child labour and trafficking.
As we mark four months and look ahead to the next 12 months of this crisis, Plan International’s priority is to ensure children and adolescents are safe and protected.
Plan International has already reached 60000 people and is working to assist more than 250000 Rohingya people with a particular focus on child protection, learning and safe and sanitary access to showers and toilets.
To support this vital work, please consider donating to the appeal: https://planau.me/rohingyaresponse
— Susanne Legena, Plan International Australia deputy chief executive officer