2nd March 2018

Tearfund Latest Prayer Points





Tearfund’s Peter Shaw recently returned from a visit to Bangladesh, where he witnessed first hand the effects of the Rohingya refugee crisis.


It’s been six months since almost 700,000 forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals (Rohingya refugees) started to flee violence in Myanmar and flood into Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.


Today, it hosts what is effectively the world’s largest site for displaced people, made up of nearly one million Myanmar nationals from the Rohingya ethnic group both established and recent arrivals. While the world’s focus has understandably been on the plight of the fleeing families from Myanmar, little attention has been paid to the impact on the 270,000 local Bangladeshis.


Families in Cox’s Bazar the host community have had to deal with a huge disturbance to their daily lives. Many people who live in extreme poverty themselves are coping with the impact of hundreds of thousands more people living in their neighbourhood.


Firewood is becoming very scarce as displaced Myanmar families chop down and uproot trees to collect wood to cook with. The influx of people has also contributed to significant price rises for food and other daily essentials. Various community buildings have been co-opted by the Bangladeshi army to coordinate the emergency relief effort.


Loving our neighbours

When a group of Myanmar nationals arrived in her village on the outskirts of Cox’s Bazar last year, Kamala* and her community welcomed the desperate families. ‘We gave them shelter, food, clothes everything they needed,’ she says.


But without permanent provision for the forcibly displaced families, it started to become more difficult for the community. Helped by local people, the Myanmar nationals built a large makeshift shelter with flimsy partitions to separate family groups in cramped conditions. In January, all the displaced people were moved to the Kutupalong-Balukhali expansion site alongside the other thousands of Myanmar nationals.


Kamala would like the Myanmar nationals to return home, but only when it is safe, they are given citizenship and their rights are guaranteed. ‘They should return with dignity to their country,’ says Kamala. ‘And I think the organisations that have come here should help the local community as well as the guest community.’


Providing for Bangladeshi families

Tearfund’s partner Coastal Association for Social Transformation (COAST) Trust have been reaching out to poor communities in Cox’s Bazar for many years long before the recent flood of Myanmar nationals. To support the indigenous population they are giving Bangladeshi families eco-friendly stoves, alongside stoves for displaced families from Myanmar.


As well as being more efficient than traditional Bangladeshi stoves (mud cylinders, built out of the ground), they are not washed away during the monsoon rains and can be used if the ground is flooded. COAST are also encouraging families to burn compressed rice husks (a waste plant product from the cultivation of rice) rather than wood from trees.


Kamala’s family have been selected and will soon be given an eco-friendly stove. ‘I am very happy as it will mean we will not need to collect so much wood,’ she says. ‘It will also be helpful for Rohingya families to have stoves too.’






* For the host community in Bangladesh who are suffering because of the influx of Myanmar nationals into their neighbourhood who are using the natural resources and driving up food prices.

* Pray that international attention will also focus on Bangladeshi families who were the first to respond with generosity to fleeing families, so that tensions are reduced.

* Give thanks for Tearfund partner COAST Trust who are meeting the needs of poor Bangladeshi families alongside the forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals.


*Name changed to protect identity



A note from...



'While it’s essential we reach out and support the forcibly displaced Myanmar Rohingya families, my visit to the camps near Cox’s Bazar last month convinced me that we must also support local Bangladeshi communities suffering immensely as a result of the huge influx of people: dwarfing them four to one. Please continue to pray for this important work.'


Peter Shaw










Prayer Item #1


An influx of Venezuelan migrants into Brazil and Colombia is challenging already stretched resources. Please pray that the migrants will receive opportunities of employment and a safe place to stay. Also pray for our partner CORSOC in Colombia and Asas do Socorro in Brazil, as they are preparing for emergency projects with Venezuelan families.



Prayer Item #2


New research indicates that, at current rates, no single country in Africa is set to end childhood malnutrition by 2030 one of the key targets of the UN's Sustainable Development goals. Please pray for children suffering from malnutrition, and pray that this research will help galvanise governments into greater action.


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