Eight ways to help the Rohingya people right now

Eight ways to help the Rohingya people right now
A Rohingya boy near a makeshift shelter at Hakimpara refugee camp in the Bangladeshi district of Ukhia. [Photo: MUNIR UZ ZAMAN/AFP/Getty Images]

Since August 25, some 615,000 Rohingya refugees have fled horrifying violence and rampant discrimination in Myanmar, according to aid agencies. The Rohingya are an ethnic minority that have been denied education, employment, property, and citizenship by Myanmar,  according to Human Rights Watch. Now, that discrimination has turned to violence, forcing the Rohingya to flee the country they have called home for generations.

In response to the crisis, nonprofit organizations have set up refugee camps in Bangladesh and Myanmar to help protect, feed, and house the Rohingya. However, they need help to continue their work. Here are eight ways to help the Rohingya people. As always, if you want to know more about the charity you’re donating to, check sites like GuideStar and Charity Navigator.

Action Against Hunger, the food-focused nonprofit has feet on the ground in Bangladesh. They are serving up hot meals and clean water, treating malnourished children, and providing mental health counseling to refugees. They have worked in Bangladesh since 2007.

BRAC, a group founded in Bangladesh, was ranked the No. 1 nongovernmental organization in the world by NGO Advisor. They are particularly suited to help the Rohingya refugees, because many staff members speak a dialect similar to that of the Rohingya in Rakhine State.

CARE International is on the ground in Myanmar and Bangladesh distributing food, supporting a health clinic, treating children for malnutrition, managing refugee camps, and supporting survivors of gender-based violence.

Concern Worldwide has set up four nutrition camps to help treat refugees fleeing the violence in Myanmar who suffer from severe malnutrition.

Doctors Without Borders (also known as Médecins Sans Frontières) is bringing in additional medical staff to help treat the tide of refugees coming over the Myanmar border into Bangladesh. As they’ve been in Bangladesh since 1985, they have two existing clinics in the regions, which are assisting the community, but they need more medical teams to better serve the refugees. If you’re cash-strapped, you can also donate airplane miles to the organization.

International Rescue Committee is helping the Rohingya who have remained in Rakhine, by providing medical care and emergency relief. However, its work has been made more difficult by the Myanmar government, which has barred international nongovernmental organizations from some areas of the region.

UNHCR, the refugee agency for the United Nations, has been working with Rohingya migrants since 1978. It currently has staffers on the ground in  Bangladesh and Myanmar, providing critical humanitarian aid. They are distributing emergency aid and shelter materials, and helping unaccompanied children, the elderly, and survivors of sexual trauma.

UNICEF is working to protect children and women in the refugee camps. They are distributing clean water, feeding malnourished children, and vaccinating 150,000 children.ML