Rohingya Refugee Crisis | UNICEF USA

900,000 Rohingya Refugees Struggle for a Future

Almost two years ago, hundreds of thousands of Rohingya fled violence in Myanmar for Bangladesh. Now a generation of children face uncertain futures.

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“The route to school gets slippery,” says Rashidullah. Monsoon rains aren’t enough to keep Rashidullah from the UNICEF Learning Center.

Meet Rashidullah

“I had never heard of vaccination,” says Mustapha. But thanks to UNICEF, all her children are now vaccinated.

Meet Mustapha

“When I dance and sing I am most happy,” says Sehera. She attends one of the 795 UNICEF learning centers.

Meet Sehera
Umme's Story
12-year-old Rohingya refugee Umme and her family fled the mass killings of their people in Myanmar for safety in Bangladesh. But, now with monsoon season here, she may be up against another fight for her life.
Read Umme's Full Story
Rohingya Refugees Struggling for a Future
“They’re not refugees, they’re not migrants. They are children. We’re grown-ups, and we need to find a solution.” — UNICEF USA CEO Caryl M. Stern
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Lifesaving Support for Rohingya Refugees
Brutal violence forced Rohingya refugee Momtas and her family to flee Myanmar for Bangladesh. Now she struggles to feed her children. UNICEF is providing food supplements and nutritional counseling to help refugee children survive.
Read Momtas' s Full Story
Water Report
UNICEF is working hard to provide Rohingya refugee children with clean water and protect them from disease. Watch Jean-Jacques Simon, UNICEF Bangladesh, explain how “Water is at the center of this humanitarian crisis.”
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"Houses were burning. There were rocket launchers. They were killing people after arresting them, that’s why we fled here.” —Umme, 12

This is a story no child should tell. Yet, it’s an all-too-familiar one in the Bangladesh refugee settlements, where UNICEF is helping Rohingya survivors of what United Nations Human Rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has deemed “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”

With the support of the government and humanitarian partners, refugees have gained access to some basic services in Bangladesh. But they remain highly dependent on short-term aid, and are living in precarious conditions in congested camps, where living conditions are difficult and sometimes dangerous — especially during Bangladesh's long monsoon and cyclone seasons. 

Until conditions are in place in Myanmar that would allow Rohingya families to return home with basic rights — safety from violence, citizenship, free movement, health and education — they remain stuck in Bangladesh. Meanwhile, children are unable to follow a formal education curriculum, depriving them of the skills they desperately need to thrive in the future. "The obligation we have as a global society is immense: to give children and young people the world has defined as 'stateless' the education and skills they need to build decent lives for themselves," said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta H. Fore. 

UNICEF is on the ground, working with the government and partners to deliver life-saving services and skills training for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. In 2018, UNICEF and partners:

  • provided nonformal education programs for 145,000 Rohingya refugee children between the ages of 4 and 14
  • provided 1.2 million people over 1 year old with oral cholera vaccine
  • treated more than 24,000 children for severe acute malnutrition
  • provided cash grants to 50 primary schools and 14 secondary schools
  • reached almost 350,000 Rohingya refugees with clean, safe drinking water
  • reached more than 160,000 Rohingya children with psychosocial support services