A tale of the mutual appreciation for dry fish, the converging point of Bangladeshi and Rohingya cuisine.

Language can often feel representative of all that binds us. And, sometimes, all that divides us. A defining feature of our cultures, values, and even national pride. International Mother Language Day, every 21 February, is inspired by Bangladesh’s struggle for representation and freedom. Today, the country hosts nearly 1 million Rohingya refugees from Myanmar, another group of people denied basic rights. Speaking different languages and coming from different countries, the two communities can seem very different. But some Bangladeshi and Rohingya people are realizing they have more in common than not.

Shonjida, a Rohingya Woman preparing dry fish Photo: WFP/Nalifa Mehelin

The opaque steam coming out of two pots in…

On International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Shamsun Nahar shares her story as a working mom living with a disability.

Tucked in a small village in Ukhiya, Bangladesh, Shamsun lives with her son Redoy and daughter Reya. The single mother and sole breadwinner for her family tend to her goats, chickens, and small vegetable farm as she asks Reya how her day at school went. The 13-year-old chatters away excitedly about what she learned and her favorite subjects.

Shamsun and her daughter Reya. Photo: WFP/Nalifa Mehelin

When Shamsun was growing up she didn’t have the same opportunities as her daughter, who she’s determined will receive a proper education…

Meet the women in Cox’s Bazar utilizing their skills to protect their community from COVID-19.

Roksana received training from WFP on how to make the masks and now is making 30 masks per day Photo: WFP/Nalifa Mehelin

Roksana and Moyuna have never met and they likely never will. They sit at similar sewing machines less than 20kms away from each other, carefully folding and stitching together layers of fabric that will soon become reusable cloth masks that will be distributed to members of their community.

Though the two women have never met, they’re both connected by a desire to protect their respective communities as cases of COVID-19 in the Rohingya refugee camps and surrounding host community creep ever higher.

In Bangladesh, the World Food Programme (WFP) is working to ensure the refugees living in the camps can still access essential food and nutrition assistance amidst the pandemic.

Before COVID-19, if you had come to the nutrition center in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, home to the world’s biggest refugee camp, you would have been greeted with happy children, smiling and playing.

While waiting for their turns, the children were carefully watching a documentary on health and hygiene habits prior to COVID-19 Photo: WFP/Nihab Rahman

Whereas now, adjustments had to be made to ensure that children coming to the centers are protected from the virus. Only 15–20 children and adults are now allowed to visit, with one hour apart from the next group, so that social distance can be maintained.

The Humanitarian Access Project aims to cut traffic and reduce the number of visitors to the world’s biggest refugee camp

QR code scan at a checkpoint on the way to the Mega camp in Cox’s Bazar. Photo: WFP/Nalifa Mehelin

The lives of the people all over the world have been undergoing rapid changes due to an omnipresent but unwelcome virus that has touched every corner of our globe. This is no different in Bangladesh where COVID-19 has forced drastic changes to the way we deliver life-saving humanitarian aid to Rohingya refugees and Bangladeshi nationals in Cox’s Bazar, home to the world’s largest refugee camp.

‘Used to take cards 15 minutes to get through, now it can take 30 seconds’

Unforeseen changes often lead to unprecedented innovation, however, as witness the Humanitarian Access Project. It was developed last month in…

The World Food Programme is working with partners to build resilience in a particularly climate-shock-prone region

Peter Guest, the Emergency Coordinator of WFP Cox’s Bazar, speaking at the handover ceremony in Teknaf, Cox’s Bazar on 19 January. Photo: WFP/Syed Asif Mahmud

Dark clouds gathering in the sky aren’t something new to the people of Cox’s Bazar. They are accompanied by fears of a storm — or even worse, a cyclone. While Bangladesh has an excellent early warning system, the region — which hosts the world’s largest refugee camp — is the most vulnerable and disaster-prone in the country.

Many people live in mud or clay homes and when the otherwise calm sea fumes, its wrath can be felt for miles. Cox’s Bazar is no stranger to cyclones; the most prominent one being the cyclone of 1991 which claimed 150,000 lives. …

A World Food Programme-backed theatre event in Cox’s Bazar trains budding entrepreneurs on nutrition, health and life skills

Breastfeeding and nutrition were among a host of topics covered. Photo: WFP/Nalifa Mehelin

“18 or more — not before. Now repeat after me” — a performer chants with the crowd following her cue. The zeal of the artist touches the attentive of audience of 60 local women gathered on a Sunday afternoon in October. If sounds had colours, this would be bright red turning very quickly to a pale white.

Child marriage

Under a blue sky, the women vow not to allow girls aged under 18 to marry. Here, in Cox’s Bazar, child marriage is common, as it is elsewhere in Bangladesh — 66 percent of girls are married before that age. …

Nalifa Mehelin

Communications Associate, working at the World Food Programme in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh

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