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In August 2017, over 700,000 ethnic Rohingya people from Myanmar fled their homes to escape a horrific wave of violence. Most of them fled to neighboring Bangladesh, where they joined hundreds of thousands already living in refugee camps in the country's south-eastern districts of Cox's Bazar and Bandarban. Neither the Government of Bangladesh nor the international community were prepared for what would become the fastest-growing refugee crisis in the world.

Many of them suffered serious injuries and psychological trauma from their experiences and arrived with barely any possessions. They are in need of food, adequate healthcare and shelter as well as clean water. Hygiene and sanitary conditions inside the overcrowded camps are also very poor, meaning the risks of deadly diseases spreading quickly are high, especially in the rainy season.

Malteser International is responding, but we need your help.

Your donation supports our work for better living conditions for refugees and local populations

In order to improve the desolate conditions in the refugee camp, our work mainly focuses on the areas of health, hygiene, nutrition and psychosocial counselling. In three health centers, we provide medical care, especially expectant mothers and newborns, and provide psychosocial counselling. In addition, to stem the spread of diseases such as Covid-19, we conduct health and hygiene trainings in the camps and have improved sanitation facilities at schools and community clinics.

Because the local communities close to the refugee camps are struggling with high levels of poverty, we support them to find new sources of income and to represent their political interests effectively at community level so that they can find their own sustainable way out of poverty.

Likewise, through our local partner organizations, we provide emergency aid in the event of natural disasters such as floods and work to strengthen local actors.

Our projects:

News from Bangladesh:

Nur Kaida: “Never let your circumstances define you“ – a pregnancy in the biggest refugee camp in the world

When Nur Kaida discovered that she was pregnant, it came as a shock to her. She did not know how to provide for two children and was overwhelmed by fear and uncertainty. To cope, she began to reduce her own intake of food. It was fortunate that a Community Health Worker from our partner organization Gonoshasthaya (GK) Kendra visited Nur Kaida's home in this situation.

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Bridging gaps in pregnancy care through community outreach

19-year-old mother of two from Bangladesh tells her story

One day in December, Koli noticed that her period had stopped - a worrying situation given the circumstances of her life. Unable to afford a pregnancy test, she spent her days in anxious anticipation. It was during this time that a Community Health Worker visited her home, introducing her to the healthcare services provided by the health facility, run by Gonoshasthaya Kendra (GK) in partnership with Malteser International. Feeling encouraged, Koli reached out to our health facility, the Amjakhali Community Clinic, for assistance.

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Cyclone Mocha in Myanmar/Bangladesh: Malteser International provides EUR 100,000 emergency relief and distributes relief goods

Cologne/Yangon/Cox's Bazar: On Sunday morning local time, cyclone "Mocha" hit the coastal regions of Myanmar and Bangladesh with wind speeds of up to 210 kilometers per hour. An official death toll has not yet been released. According to the international disaster warning system GDACS, around three million people in Myanmar and Bangladesh could be affected by the cyclone. MI staff and local partner organizations in Myanmar and Bangladesh have already started to distribute the first relief goods to people who have lost everything as a result of the storm. Malteser International has already pledged an initial 100,000 euro for emergency relief measures.

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Cyclone Mocha hits Myanmar and Bangladesh: Our emergency response

On the path of cyclone "Mocha": The world's largest refugee camp in Cox's Bazar in southern Bangladesh and Rakhine State in western Myanmar. In both regions, the storm hit particularly vulnerable populations already affected by crises. Heavy rains and strong wind gusts caused landslides and flooding in some areas. Tens of thousands of families were affected, and homes and infrastructure were destroyed. Here's how we provided aid...

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On the run: Health must not be left behind

According to the latest figures of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), some 110 million people were on the run in 2022. This is the highest number recorded. Displaced individuals remain among the most vulnerable members of society and their health needs are often neglected. Many of them undertake long, exhausting journeys with inadequate access to food and water, sanitation, and other basic services, increasing their risk of getting sick.

On the occasion of World Refugee Day, June 20th 2023, we are launching a digital campaign under the title „ On the run: Health must not be left behind “. With this campaign, we want to raise awareness about everyone ‘s right - regardless of their circumstances - to health and access to people-centered and high-quality health services.

More information about our campaign

Forgotten Crises #IntoFocus

In the first days and weeks after the outbreak of a humanitarian crisis, the media report continuously and comprehensively from the crisis region, placing the disaster in the center of public attention. After that, reporting and public interest - and thus aid - usually ebb significantly. But the emergency situation for the people on the ground continues. Bangladesh is one of three countries being highlighted in the nationwide #IntoFocus campaign on forgotten crises. The aim of the campaign is to make global emergencies visible and increase public interest in them so that people in need receive urgently needed help.

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Clinic manager in the world's largest refugee camp

Interview with Dr. Sadia Afroz

For almost three years, Dr. Sadia Afroz has been working in the world's largest refugee camp in Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh. As clinic manager in one of the three health stations of our local partner organization Gonoshasthaya Kendra (GK), she is dedicated to improving the health of the Rohingya on a daily basis. We talked to her about her work, the challenges on the ground, the state of health of the refugees and her motivation.

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Community health worker Fatema: "Serving my community motivates me"

"I assure the women that I am always available for them if they face any problems. Day and night, I will support them." - 50-year-old Fatema leaves no doubt: she will be there when a pregnant woman calls during the night because labor is starting or because she is experiencing complications. She tells this with pride and a smile on her lips that exposes her small gap between her teeth. Fatema is one of about one hundred community health workers of the three health posts Malteser International runs together with the local organization Gonoshasthaya Kendra (GK) in the world's largest refugee camp.

Learn more about Fatema's story

Refugees in Bangladesh: „My heart, mind and soul are still in Myanmar.“

Hundreds of thousands of members of the Rohingya Muslim minority fled in autumn 2017 to escape violent attacks. In the world's largest refugee camp in Bangladesh the people receive shelter, food as well as medical care. They can survive, but is that enough? "We have enough food here in the refugee camp. That's good, but it doesn't let our minds rest. I don't feel at home here. Home, is my house in Myanmar," says Jamalida, a refugee living in the camp in Bangladesh.

Find out what home means to Jamalida, Shakiya and Iman Hamidur Rahman.

Read the #MomentsOfHome stories from Bangladesh

#WomenHumanitarians - "Service above self, doing good, and showing kindness"

Even in her young years, humanitarian aid was a matter close to Habiba Mohamed’s heart. The 35-year-old native of Nairobi, Kenya joined Malteser International in 2018 as Health And Nutrition Coordinator in Bangladesh, and is helping to ensure medical care for Rohingya refugees in Cox's Bazar. In this interview, she talks about her experiences as a female humanitarian worker on the frontlines in a career that has seen her respond to emergencies in multiple countries.

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Rohinga: ''I only survived because I was left for dead''

Yasin Sadak* still feels pain from the gunshot wounds on his forearm and hand. The wounds are a reminder of a horrific experience that would remain with him for a long time. He remembers the fateful night in August 2017, when he was shot while running away from armed men who had attacked his village in northwestern Myanmar.

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Who are the Rohingya?

The Rohingya are one of the many ethnic minorities in Myanmar. The vast majority are Muslim living in mainly Buddhist Myanmar. They have been called the "world's most persecuted minority". Find out why.

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Rajuma's story

Rajuma is only 30 years old, but has endured the most unimaginable horrors. During brutal attacks in Myanmar, Rajuma lost everyone in her family, except one of her five children.

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Life in a refugee camp

How does everyday life look like in a refugee camp? How is life organized in the biggest refugee camp worldwide? Insights into life in the "mega camp" Cox's Bazar. 

Read more

Become a sponsoring partner and provide longlasting aid for people in need

As a sponsoring partner, your regular donation gives real, life-changing help to people in need in our project regions. Your commitment helps us plan ahead and bring about long-lasting impact.

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Completed projects:

Project data

Our work in Bangladesh

Project region:
Cox's Bazar

The German Relief Coalition (Aktion Deutschland Hilft - ADH),
German Federal Foreign Office (Auswärtiges Amt - AA)

Coast Foundation,
Gonoshasthaya Kendra (GK)


Antje Kania
Email: antje.kania(at)malteser-international.org

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