Giving Compass’ Take:
• The author calls for more attention to Rohingya refugee women to show how they take on the primary role in solving issues in the Rohingya camps for their community.
• How can development teams working with the Rohingya find avenues for women to be part of the decision-making process?
This week, as the world marks one year since the beginning of the Rohingya exodus – one of the most critical refugee crises of our times – images of helpless refugee women are likely to abound. Too often, in an effort to raise funds or move the public into action, we paint refugee women as powerless, helplessly waiting to be rescued from the peril of their fate.
Yet nothing could be further from the truth. Refugee women are not passive victims; they are strong and courageous leaders, often the first ones to respond to the needs of their community.
Earlier this year, my fellow Nobel Peace Prize laureates Tawakkol Karman, Shirin Ebadi and Mairead Maguire visited the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh. Although they witnessed unparalleled levels of devastation, they were struck by the resolve and strength of Rohingya women. The women were supporting relief efforts and offering translation services, as well as organizing and responding to their community’s needs to the best of their ability.
I see so much strength, wisdom and resilience in the women in refugee camps. But one year into the Rohingya crisis we rarely hear Rohingya women’s voices included at the decision-making table. It is time for these women to actively determine their future, leading the way for their communities in the process, and for decision-makers to act on their advice.
For too long women and girls have been excluded from systems of representation and participation. Women are interviewed by media and humanitarian organizations, but rarely does their own understanding of the needs and strengths of their communities have a profound impact on how refugee camps are run and organized.
Read the full article about refugee women by Leymah Gbowee at News Deeply
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