Tag Archives: Bangladesh

Rohingya Victims Need Food, Peace and Justice

Co-authored with Brenna Gautam, a J.D. Candidate at Georgetown University Law Center.

Imagine waking up tomorrow and having to flee your home with only the food and supplies you can carry, not knowing when or if you will ever be able to return.

Your homeland could be a paradise: its climate dips into lush tropical temperatures, and its mountain ranges soar to beautiful heights. But as a displaced person, heavy rains and heat slow your escape, and the mountains become a death trap, stranding thousands of your people without food.

No matter how dangerous escape is, you can’t go back: there is only “fires, bullets, knives” from where you came. So, you keep forcing yourself forward, stumbling onwards for miles over rough terrain. There is no end in sight, and the hope of finding safety as a refugee beyond your own borders seems idealistic at best.

This situation is playing out in the lives of hundreds of thousands of people fleeing Myanmar. Conflict has erupted in Mynamar’s Rakhine state. The government is driving out members of the Rohingya minority: more than 200 villages have been burned and refugees have recounted harrowing stories of mass murder and rape.

See the full column at the HuffPost.

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McGovern-Dole Brings School Meals to Bangladesh

School meals programmes encourage parents to send girls to school and thus contribute to gender equality. (WFP/Shehzad Noorani)

A shipment of wheat from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) just arrived in Bangladesh and will help provide food for school children. The wheat, which is being unloaded at Chittagong Port on September 11th, will be used to produce high-energy biscuits.

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) will distribute the biscuits to 350,000 pre-primary and primary school children. WFP is working with the government of Bangladesh to provide school meals and eventually build a nationwide program.

The USDA donation of wheat is part of the McGovern-Dole International School Meals program, named after former senators George McGovern and Bob Dole.

Both senators McGovern and Dole have championed school feeding for children in the United States and overseas. The McGovern-Dole program is the leading source of funding for school feeding programs run by aid agencies like WFP. The US Congress decides how much funding to allocate to McGovern-Dole each year.

School feeding encourages parents to send their children to class and it provides an extra source of food which can help fight off malnutrition. Providing school meals abroad is a US tradition that goes back many years including the first two world wars.

Christa Räder, the WFP Representative in Bangladesh, says “This shipment will enable WFP to continue reaching children in the most poverty prone areas of Bangladesh. The strong support provided by USDA is helping children who would not otherwise be able to get an education with the opportunity to attend school regularly and to have the much needed micronutrient intake to grow up healthy.”

A WFP study revealed that the school feeding has a “substantial effect on reducing micronutrient deficiencies – which affect children’s ability to learn and fight diseases – through the provision of biscuits fortified with essential vitamins and minerals. ”

The US Ambassador to Bangladesh, Dan Mozena, said, “Our celebration today is about more than a mountain of donated wheat from America. We celebrate today partnership. Partnership between America and Bangladesh to nurture the children of Bangladesh, partnership to nurture the development of Bangladeshi children both physically and mentally, partnership to build the nation’s citizens of tomorrow.”

Mr. Md. Motahar Hossain, MP, Honourable State Minister said, “The programme is significantly contributing to improving enrolment and attendance and reducing drop outs. Thank you to the USDA for this assistance to the school feeding programme.”

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Japan’s Generosity-6 months after the earthquake

Japan has long been a major donor to the UN World Food Programme. Here is a photo of 2009 meeting announcing a donation to WFP operations in Tajikistan (WFP/Zia Ziauddin)

While Japan has faced enormous challenges since the earthquake struck one thing has not changed-their generosity. Japan continues to be a leader in fighting global hunger as evidenced by a recent donation to the UN World Food Programme. Around 400,000 impoverished families in Bangladesh will benefit from a September donation of 10 million dollars.

H.E. Mr. Tamotsu Shintosuka, Ambassador to Bangladesh says, “We hope the assistance will help poor people of Bangladesh who are the victims of natural disasters and climate change. We are pleased to assist WFP with this donation to help the poorest, most vulnerable and undernourished people of the country.”

Japan continues to reach out to help others countries just as they are rebuilding on the homefront. The charity Save the Children is in Japan providing relief supplies and helping kids deal with the trauma of the last 6 months. One mother remarked to Save the Children staff, “You have made my child smile again.”

Read an article in the Korea Times about Japan’s recovery and Save the Children’s work there.

Listen below to an audio message from Save the Children’s president Carolyn Miles.

Save the Children Reports from Japan- 6 Months after the Earthquake

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