Since August 2017 the Rohingya have been victims of a genocide at the hands of Myanmar’s military. Their homes and villages have been burned to the ground and many of their family members killed. Since then, over 650,000 Rohingya have arrived to the refugee camps across the border in Bangladesh, and many families are still arriving to the camp every day. As of now, roughly 1 million Rohingya find shelter in these camps, of which almost 60% are estimated to be children.
Since we arrived on January 11th, 2018 we have often been greeted with big smiles, but we have also seen fear and despair in the faces of many. Walking around the camp, we regularly see malnourished children without any clothing or footwear, as well as very young children carrying babies in their arms.
Large queues and crowds continually form around distribution points, waiting for several hours to receive food and other supplies. Improvised shelters and tents have been constructed and continue to be built for newly arriving refugees. It is shocking to see how dense and expansive the camp is.
Facilities such as home and street lighting, clean drinking water, and basic sanitation are still lacking in some areas of the camp. Combating critical diseases and malnourishment is a big challenge without access to clean water and hygienic facilities. Moreover, the lack of lighting in most areas of the camp compromises the safety of accessing such facilities at night.
I (Tim) am a mechanical & energy engineer from the U.S.A. and Cris is an energy engineer from Spain. We had been working in India, providing energy access for underserved communities there, and decided to come offer our help to the Rohingya people in need.
We are raising funds to support the installation of solar powered lighting systems and deep tube wells to supply clean drinking water.
To ensure the quality of the installed systems, all the contractors selected to carry out the implementation are those recommended by the Bangladeshi Army and/or other organizations who have worked previously in the camp and have good references for such work. To determine the best locations for these projects we are coordinating with the Bangladeshi Army, Rohingya community leaders, and some organizations involved in street lighting and deep tube well projects (IOM, Oxfam, ACF), as well as the site management group of the camp. This will help us make sure these facilities are implemented in the areas in higher need and are not overlapping with other on-going or scheduled projects.
The organizations Oxfam and IOM (UN International Organization for Migration) have agreed on assuming the maintenance responsibilities of our deep tube wells and solar lighting systems respectively once we leave the country after completion of these installations. By colaborating with these partners we will be able to maximize the impact of the projects for the Rohingya community.
We will keep this post updated with the status of projects and how the funds are being utilized. 100% of the funds collected through this campaign will be invested in projects for the Rohingya refugee camp.
Thank you for any contribution you can make, and please help us spread this message.
Cristina Mata Yandiola & Timothy Mulé
For more information about the Rohingya and the ongoing situation please see the links below:
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