The United Nations describes the Rohingya as the world's most persecuted minority. In August 2017 the government of Myanmar launched a large-scale military offensive against the population living in the west of the country:
Hundreds of Rohingya villages were burned to the ground, at least 6,700 people were brutally massacred, and countless people were raped. Within a few weeks, around 700,000 Rohingya were displaced and fled to Bangladesh.
The international community is talking about ethnic cleansing, and genocide proceedings against Myanmar are currently underway at the International Court of Justice in The Hague.
As a stateless, predominantly Muslim minority, the Rohingya are at home in Rakhine, a Myanmar state on the border with Bangladesh. However, Myanmar does not recognize them as a native population and denies them citizenship. This means that the Rohingya have been systematically exposed to repression and persecution for decades. They live in poverty, have no right to vote and cannot officially leave the country.
The attacks in the summer of 2017 are the final act in a policy of discrimination that has spanned decades: since 1948, the Myanmar military has repeatedly devastated the Rohingya settlement area in massive operations, killing many members of the minority or forcing them to flee to neighboring countries.
There are currently more than one million displaced Rohingya, well over half of them children, in refugee camps in Bangladesh. A large number of them are housed in Kutupalong: Around 600,000 residents have been living in the world's largest refugee camp under catastrophic conditions for several years.
The refugees here lack basic supplies of food, clean water, sanitary facilities or medical care. The children and young people who grow up in the camp have no access to education. The adult residents lack income opportunities. In addition to this humanitarian crisis, there is the threat of COVID-19, which is spreading rapidly among the weakened refugees.
Together with the YOU Foundation - Education for Children in Need, “ZF hilft.” supports various campaigns to improve living conditions in the Kutupalong refugee camp.
In addition to emergency aid with food, sanitary products and medicines, as well as the sustainable supply of clean drinking water, the focus is on the one hand on the construction and expansion of a health station. In order to be able to particularly better help the victims of attacks, the station also trains special health assistants for women and girls. On the other hand, “ZF hilft.” is concerned with developing educational solutions in the camp. One of the aims is to give the children the chance of regular primary education outside of the camp in the long term.