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Jobs are scarce, especially if you have a disability

Stories from Cox's Bazar - challenges and hope in a Rohingya refugee camp

Jobs are scarce in Rohingya refugee camps, especially for people with disabilities. The limited employment opportunities available in the camps often demand heavy physical labour and are not suitable for people like Din Mohammad.

Din Mohammad, a Rohingya refugee living in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh

Twenty-eight-year-old Din Mohammad was born with deformed legs and walks with crutches. He used to own a small shop in Myanmar, but like almost every Rohingya refugee, he was forced to abandon everything he had to flee the violence.

Cash-for-work project

Christian Aid has been working with the World Food Programme (WFP) on cash-for-work projects, to help people with disabilities find jobs, earn money and support themselves and their families.

The project - Community- Based Risk Mitigation and Rehabilitation for Disaster Risk Reduction Throgh Food Assets (FFA) to Vulnerable Rohingya Refugees and Host Community, funded by WFP - has created short-term employment opportunities.

Priority was given to the most vulnerable and where there was a clear need - female-headed households, households where someone had a disability, or there were elderly or chronically ill people.

Dignity and independence

Din Mohammad took part in the project as a supervisor in a drainage upgrade site. His responsibilities were to support labourers working on the construction site, and give them water when necessary. He worked for 16 days and earned a total of 5600 BDT (US$ 85 apx.).

I received equal pay to the other workers. I was not discriminated against because of my disability.

Din Mohammad

What now?

Since the construction ended, Din Mohammad is again out of work. Many organisations do not include people with disabilities in their projects, meaning there is almost no option for employment for people with disabilities.

We continue to push for inclusive programming to ensure we ’leave no one behind’, and there are opportunities for all, regardless of – gender, ethnicity, caste, religion, class, sexual orientation, disability or age.

‘I would love to work again. The drainage site I worked in is part of a bigger drainage structure and it helps to keep the camp clean.’

Drain constructrion at Rohingya refugee Camp 15, Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh

After almost two years in camps, Din Mohammad now feels that with upgraded drainage system and newly constructed stairways and pathways, the camp is getting safer to live in.

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