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26 July 2020: Christian AidOutline map of Bangladesh

The “visiting” speaker for our recorded communion service today was from Christian Aid. He recorded his contribution from his home in lockdowned Leicester.

He spoke about the work of Christian Aid and its local partners at a refugee camp in Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh. The camp as a whole houses some 850,000 Rohingya refugees who have fled from Myanmar. The camp has been divided into various areas, each helped by a different aid agency. Christian Aid and its partners look after an area housing around 200,000 refugees. They also support some 50,000 Bangladeshi in the local community.

To help counteract Covid-19, Christian Aid and its partners have trained local doctors so they can train others. They aim to train some 100 health workers on infection, prevention and disease control. Handwashing stations have been set up throughout the camp but this is not easy in an area where water is scarce.

One of Christian Aid’s partners has started a project to support 2,000 households in the slums and low-income areas of Dhaka. Each family will receive the equivalent of £14 to cover basic needs for the next two weeks.

The speaker mentioned one Rohingya woman in the camp who had enrolled on a textile course, following which she started making baby clothes to provide her and her family with an income. When the Covid-19 crisis began she suggested that those on the textile course should make protective masks. They are now making them to a design provided by the World Health Organisation.

Our speaker suggested this was an example of things growing like the mustard seed in Jesus’s parable. Even a small amount of money donated to Christian Aid can have a large effect.