Sixteen graduate students from Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) embarked on a mission to Bangladesh where they expanded on their knowledge of the crisis engulfing Myanmar and the Rohingya refugees. HBKU is a member of Qatar Foundation.
Held in collaboration with Qatar Charity, the trip was preceded by a series of educational workshops on disaster management, allowing participants to develop a better understanding of the ongoing international conflict prior to engaging in humanitarian efforts on-ground.
Led by HBKU Student Affairs, the expedition began in the city of Dhaka with a group briefing, after which the team of graduate students and accompanying staff proceeded to their relief station in Cox’s Bazar, a port city hosting a significant number of Rohingya refugee camps. The relief tour concluded with a reception at the Embassy of the State of Qatar to Bangladesh, where visiting team members called upon Ambassador Ahmed Mohammed Nasser Al-Dehaimi, and apprised him of their humanitarian mandate.
Executive director of media and communication at Qatar Charity, Ali Ateeq Al-Abdullah, said that Qatar Charity is pleased to cooperate with HBKU in the field of humanitarian response and international relief work.
Through their service learning trip to the refugee settlements in Cox’s Bazar, the graduate students were able to closely observe the plight of the Rohingya community in Bangladesh. Interacting with the refugees deepened their understanding of the many lives that have been gravely affected during this ongoing humanitarian crisis.
As a result of the relief work, participating students were able to gain a new appreciation for the common human values they share with those living in crisis. Through our joint work with the students, we are happy that we were able to underscore the importance of volunteering as an important aspect of learning.’
An objective of the trip was to expose and educate HBKU students on conditions that may have resulted from conflict-ridden areas. Faisal Ahmed Al-Mohannadi, senior student engagement supervisor at HBKU who was on the trip, said that the expeditions help HBKU graduate students gain an understanding of complex global challenges – be they developmental, socio-economic or humanitarian in nature.
Our time in Bangladesh gave us the rare opportunity to directly engage with the refugees and hear about their experiences. This gave us a unique perspective we would have only been able achieve by venturing outside of our comfort zone.’
In Bangladesh, the HBKU team visited Rohingya camps and donated ready-to-eat meals, food products, clothes, tents, and hygiene kits. The participants also visited hospitals to gain a deeper insight into the medical concerns faced by the displaced Rohingya community.
The humanitarian assistance team from HBKU also organised a series of recreational activities to engage Rohingya children inhabiting refugee settlements and orphanages in Bangladesh. These efforts were designed to help the youth develop their communication skills and maintain their cognitive, emotional, social and physical abilities.
Every year, graduate students from HBKU volunteer to assist underprivileged communities around the world. Through personal engagement, teams acquire a first-hand understanding of the multi-faceted challenges faced by people living in critical need of basic shelter, healthcare, nutrition, sanitation, education, and economic development.
For more information about the HBKU volunteer programme, visit their website at hbku.edu.qa.