A moment of peace: You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone

17 May 2021

Topics: Bangladesh

Video:
The Christian Aid team conducting awareness sessions with religious leaders in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh / Act for Peace

The saying goes that you don’t know what we’ve got ‘til it’s gone. For some of us, this could be because we don’t like to think about losing the things we have. 


Like a job, for instance.

Complaining about work is something most of us do. How busy and tired it makes us. How many other things we’d prefer to be doing with our time…
Then COVID-19 hit. 

Hours were cut back, people had to work from home, and some businesses stopped altogether. As unemployment hit record highs, many people suddenly found themselves faced with the scary reality of losing their livelihoods. 

Things are now quickly returning to normal in Australia, so it’s easy to slip back into old habits, but something I learned this week about refugees in Bangladesh stopped me in my tracks. Many Rohingya refugees living in the overcrowded camps in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, have been living without job opportunities for the last three years.  

As stateless individuals, they don’t have the legal rights and protection we take for granted.  Day in, day out, they live with restrictions on what they can and can’t do in society.

That’s why our partner on the ground, Christian Aid, are so passionate about their livelihood training program.

If you just come in and start delivering and rolling out a program without talking to the community about what it is, what they want, and how best to meet their needs, then you can end up doing more harm than good. The skills training is all based on what the community decides.

Getting a program like this off the ground starts and ends with the communities: seeing what people are interested in doing, conducting market assessments, and training refugees in the practical and emotional skills needed to set up and run businesses. 

As our Act for Peace program coordinator, Will, describes, 

“If you just come in and start delivering and rolling out a program without talking to the community about what it is, what they want, and how best to meet their needs, then you can end up doing more harm than good. The skills training is all based on what the community decides.”

After months of engaging with refugee and host communities, Christian Aid were excited to share they are ramping up the roll out of their skills training project for Rohingya families in Bangladesh. 

Skills training that will mean refugees can start businesses and possibly access jobs, allowing them to provide for their families and live with dignity in the most difficult of circumstances. Thanks to your gifts and with the support of the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP), this work is possible.

And as we report this exciting news back to you, incredibly passionate, considered, local leaders are supporting refugee families with the training and skills needed to rebuild their lives.