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Donate now to help Rohingya refugee children through the pandemic

Coronavirus has plunged the world’s largest refugee settlement at Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, into a strict lockdown, denying children their freedom and education.

The challenge is clear. There are many children to reach and every day counts.

Your donation to VSO Ireland's Every Day Counts appeal could support more children like Monir, helping them play, heal and learn.

Donations will be distributed across all types of VSO’s work in health, education and livelihoods.

Life is tough in Cox's Bazar - the refugee camps are crowded and unsafe for children.

A crisis on top of crises

For children and families like four-year-old Monir’s – the pandemic has been a crisis on top of crises of displacement and poverty. They are just one family, among thousands of Rohingya families, who had to flee to Bangladesh following persecution in the country of Myanmar. Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh is the world’s largest refugee settlement, housing 900,000 refugees.

Coronavirus has plunged the camps into a strict lockdown. Movement is limited and community services are closed, including schools.

Thousands of children are cut off from playing, learning and developing at a critical point in their lives. too. This isn’t how children should live, especially those already living with deep trauma. 

'Big Mother' Abada with two of her little students Monir and Rama in the VSO education centre

Hope and light in play and learning

Cramped, overcrowded conditions and without electricity, lights, a toilet, and running water - hard to imagine, right? Coronavirus has the potential to devastate vulnerable people living in these conditions. 

When the pandemic hit, VSO focused on protecting and saving lives. And a new way to support children to continue their learning.

With their classes shut down, VSO trained 'Big Sisters' started visiting their young students at home. They take every precaution against the virus and bring homemade learning materials such as flashcards, bottle top counters and artbooks.

On their visits, the Big Sisters sing songs, play games, dance and draw with the little ones. This keeps children learning and helps their mental health. 

Monir started learning more and more every day – colours, the Burmese and English alphabet, and even the names of birds. He was really proud to be able to write his name. Seeing smilies on the faces of children who have already been through so much is a joy. 

But we urgently need to reach more children. VSO works in Jamtoli refugee camp, but there are 31 more camps in and around Cox’s Bazar. Your support can train and equip more Big Sisters and volunteers to support children - helping them play, heal and learn. Every day counts, so don't wait.

Donate today to reach more children like Monir


1 UNHCR February 2021