Childhood Interrupted: Children’s Voices from the Rohingya Crisis

The study was conducted with 200 children (60 from host community and 140 from Rohingya Refugee community) and 40 mothers (10 from host community and 30 refugees) in Cox’s Bazar (Bangladesh) to gain insight into their daily lives and to listen to what children wanted others to know about. Questions did not revolve around Rohingya children’s plight. Children were grouped into 3 groups (7-10; 11-14; 15-17). Mothers of children between 0 and 6 were also consulted. Participants included Bangladeshi nationals (host community), refugees that entered Bangladesh before August 25, 2017 (old influx), and refugees who entered Bangladesh after August 25, 2017 (new influx). Several tools were used to consult children, and these tools had been previously developed and tested by Save the Children, Plan international and World Vision International but were contextualised and amended to tis particular context before using. A Table presents the list of tools used, description, and age group used with. These include: Body mapping, focus group discussion, yes no maybe, dot voting, Risk mapping, and message to aid organisation. The report is divided in two parts. the first part tells a fictional story depicting a day in the life of two children, using information collected from the consultations. Part two presents findings and analysis of data. Findings: Host and refugee children from all groups reported issues around safety in their environment. Refugee children were afraid of being trafficked or kidnapped and identified ‘forests where they collect firewood, the roads, their tents, and the latrines’ as the most dangerous places. Girls (11-14) in the host community noted that they previously had more freedom to go out and play with their friends in the village but that, due to the large number of refugees, their parents have become more restrictive. Boys and girls from host community could no longer play in the village playground on courtyard either people of the large number of refugee children there or because refugees were now living in those spaces. Both refugee and host community children from all groups felt safe in the same places: Learning facilities, mosque, hospital or health centres. Refugee children felt safe at relief distributions. Refugee children faced barriers to attending school ( different ages different barriers) and host community children also faced new barriers to school attendance. Food consumption, access to healthcare and health problems, access to play spaces and time to play has changed for both refugees and host communities.

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