Setting up shop in a refugee camp
Stories from Cox's Bazar - challenges and hope in a Rohingya refugee camp
Starting a business is always a challenge, especially when your shop is on a steep muddy slope in a refugee camp. Minara and her husband were forced to abandon their home and business in Myanmar and start from scratch in ‘Camp 14’ in Bangladesh.
They had two shops in Rakhine state, Myanmar, and were busy piling up stock for Eid – one of the largest religious festival for Muslims – when the conflict in the area escalated. On a fateful day, their shops were looted and burned down. The family left Myanmar empty-handed and landed in the camps of Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.
Staircases connect communities
Christian Aid, supported by the World Food Programme, implemented a project that helped give Minara’s business a boost – the Community-Based Risk Mitigation and Rehabilitation for Disaster Risk Reduction Through Food Assets (FFA) to Vulnerable Rohingya Refugees and Host Community project.
The project started to address the dangerous slopes, by building 11 pathways and creating or upgrading 39 stairways in camps 14, 15 and 16.
When the stairs were built, it became easier for customers to visit the shop and Minara’s sales doubled. The shop became a community hub, where people come to rest and chat, as well as buying shopping.
We will fully receive the benefit of these stairways during upcoming monsoon season. The stairs will be much less muddy and getting supplies from the market will be easier.’
Access to healthcare, markets and play
Minara is just one of the people who are enjoying the quicker, safer and easier routes around the camp. For example, it is now far easier for people to get to the ‘Camp-in-Charge’s office’ for administration issues, the health centers and local markets.
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