By Yaseen Kippie
The Al-Imdaad Foundation has been given permission to construct ten thousand homes for displaced Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh by the country’s authorities. Qari Ziyaad Patel, a trustee of Al-Imdaad, visited the Bangladeshi regions which saw over 600 thousand Rohingyans flee their homes in Rakhine State, Myanmar. He calls the Rohingya crisis a ‘humanitarian catastrophe’ and a sign of selective application of human rights.
Al-Imdaad, an NGO from South Africa, is the first organisation given land and permission to build in Bangladesh for the Rohingya refugees. They have been instrumental in providing emergency relief since the 24th of August this year, establishing an office in the region.
Patel says the Rohingya are living in make-shift shelters made from simple bamboo polls and a plastic sheeting on top to help them against the elements of nature.
“This is what they call home, a simple structure. For how long can people live in these conditions? When we go camping, we live in better conditions.”
As part of their medium to long term projects in the region, the humanitarian village will give the Rohingya a stronger and more tangible home. Patel hopes it will help them along the “way out of their pain and misery.”
Paving the way for other organisations
Patel says that because working in Bangladesh is quite complex due to necessary permissions needed, Al-Imdaad are talking to Bangladeshi MP’s as representatives of other NGO’s to be given permissions to also erect structures for the Rohingya.
“Al-Imdaad believes the role of organizations should be complementary and not competitive in nature. This way we serve better.”
Al-Imdaad has a successful track record of setting up humanitarian villages, including in Indonesia after the 2004 tsunami, where the village includes a Mosque, orphanage and Islamic school. Other villages are set up on the Turkish Syrian border.
The need of the hour
Patel says that food and clothing are the needs of the hour.
“Visiting the camps, I saw mere skeletons and bones malnourished. They need food aid. Most children were partly clothed or stark naked.”
Donations can be made through the Al-Imdaad website: www.alimdaad.com, with regular updates on twitter @alimdaad. VOC