UNHCR News Story: Bangladesh: Myanmar refugees weave together self-reliance and hope

In the remote Bangladeshi village of Faruk Para, 34-year-old Kil Cer, a Chin refugee from Myanmar, weaves a blanket beneath a self-reliance plan funded by UNHCR.
UNHCR / J. Musau / 2009

Bangladesh: Myanmar refugees weave with each other self-reliance and hope.

FARUK PARA, Bangladesh, September 14 (UNHCR) – Kil Cer, a shy, petite 34-year Chin refugee from Myanmar, can be identified each early morning weaving blankets alongside with 5 other females in the village community centre in this remote lush environmentally friendly village in the Chittagong Hill Tracts.

But they are not just turning out the colourful regular blankets their mothers and grandmothers have always created. In their personal tranquil way they’ve woven with each other a modest-scale financial revolution in the settlement of 700, liberating their people from debt and dependence on handouts.

“I am happy now,” suggests Kil Cer. “Ahead of, it was a complicated wrestle.” Mainly for the reason that of Kil Cer’s weaving skills, her community has paid out again all their money owed. They are equipped to acquire treatment of their people without having UNHCR’s assist and have invested income in other organizations, these kinds of as banana plantations, that also hire the community Bangladeshi host community, identified as the Bawm.

“We speak pretty much the same language as they do and they have been very fantastic to us,” Kil Cer, a mother of two, suggests about her hosts.

Guiding the results is a new UNHCR approach to building self-reliance as portion of UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres’s target on refugees dwelling exterior camps. Learning from before assignments that gave grants to refugees who did not have the good skills or company training to use the income thoroughly, UNHCR commenced relying on the skills of community organizations to acquire the skills of refugees in Bangladesh dwelling exterior camps.

Eight months back, Kil Cer and other refugees in the village had been greatly in debt after numerous of their assignments – modest rice mills, grocery outlets and farming – failed. For numerous yrs, they experienced relied on UNHCR to pay back their lease and give them income for primary commodities. Even when Kil Cer tried out to assist herself with weaving, she was only equipped to receive US$2 for every blanket – hardly sufficient to include her fees.

“Like numerous ladies in Myanmar, I was taught to weave by my mother in Myanmar when I was fifteen yrs old,” she suggests. In Bangladesh, she commenced weaving blankets and handed on the ability to a number of other young females, both equally refugees and Bangladeshis.

The turning issue came when UNHCR launched her to Samantha Morshed, main government officer of Hathay Bunano, a corporation that was previously employing rural Bangladeshi females and other deprived persons to make smooth toys for the worldwide sector beneath truthful trade procedures. She offered cost-free skilled information to Kil Cer and her team on enhancing their products and solutions and advertising and marketing them, to make best use of a UNHCR commence-up loan of US$250.

These days their choices involve shawls, scarves, ponchos, infant blankets, picnic blankets, bedspreads and luggage marketed beneath Expression in Exile, a brand name that is becoming well known with the urban elite in the Bangladeshi funds, Dhaka. Inside of a month, they created a financial gain of US$800, a substantial sum for the citizens of Farak Pura, and today demand from customers is outstripping source.

“I was fired up when I 1st observed the blankets from Expression in Exile and am happy to give the team a minor course in conditions of colors, sizes, pricing and uncooked resources,” suggests Morshed. “I see no cause why these blankets cannot obtain mainstream export profits in the near long term.”

Now that her every day desires are taken treatment of, Kil Cer is previously looking to a long term she could scarcely have dreamed of a year back. “I want to spend the income in my children’s training,” she suggests. Her 19-year-old colleague, Siang Khin Par, has very similar substantial hopes: “I do this for the reason that I would like to be self-reliant. I would like to find out computing and English.”

UNHCR Consultant in Bangladesh Saber Azam suggests the programme is paying out benefits not only for the refugees but for Bangladesh as properly.

“Making sure that refugees are equipped to acquire treatment of on their own and their communities is generally a additional humanitarian action than offering them cost-free hand-outs for yrs,” he suggests. “Kil Cer has also shown how refugees can enable their Bangladeshi hosts instead than getting a load on them.”

By Jelvas Musau in Faruk Para and Arjun Jain in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Posted by UNHCR on 2009-09-14 fifteen:14:09

Tagged: , august 2009 , south asia , females , Trades and skills , self-reliance , earnings technology , UNHCR , UN refugee company , girl , Bangladesh , Asia , news tale , info , refugees , Expression in Exile , Dhaka