Please help create a life-changing oasis for children, like Asha, in the overcrowded refugee camps of Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.

“Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Come to Me.
I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis.”
 – Matthew 11:28

As we begin this New Year, our hearts go out to the Rohingya people – over a million souls – trapped in the world’s largest refugee camps, on the dune-hills of Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh.

Our first appeal to help the Rohingya refugees was sent to generous cbm supporters, like you, back in 2019. Saleha, a grandmother fleeing for her life from marauding soldiers in Myanmar, was herded into a border minefield where she stepped on a mine that destroyed her lower legs.

Brave neighbours turned back to carry Saleha across the border into Bangladesh. Three years later, she is still able to walk the steep tracks of her refugee camp, on the wonderful prosthetic legs people, like you, helped to give her.

Those legs came from a slice of heaven that people, like you, helped support in the overcrowded refugee camps: the cbm-funded Medical Centre that welcomes over 100 patients a day.

One of these patients is little Asha, a beautiful teeny-weeny tot of a girl, just two-years-old. Born with a twisted foot, living in pain and exclusion because of her severe clubfoot.

Thank goodness for kind-hearted people, like you, who bring hope and healing to children born with disabilities.

Please help keep the doors of the cbm-funded Medical Centre open… by sending your generous gift for Rohingya refugees with disabilities today.

It’s hard to imagine the plight of more than a million people, who have lost everything and never know what the next day will bring.

Asha’s camp is called Kutupalong – the largest in the world. Over the past six years all the trees that supported the sandhills have been stripped for shelters and firewood. Heavy monsoon rains cause landslides. Toilet pits collapse, sending flash floods of human waste through the crowded ravines – smashing homes and spreading disease.

Fire spreads like lightening. One fire alone in Asha’s camp left 45,000 people without shelter! There are even numerous deaths caused by migrating elephants stampeding through the camps!

The Rohingya refugees are some of the world’s most vulnerable people – and the most disadvantaged of all, are children with disabilities, like Asha.

Asha’s home is a tiny plastic-wrapped bamboo shelter – just 10 square metres for a family of five. Just a sleeping mat, not enough blankets to cover them.

Her parents just want the best for their children, but how is that possible for a little girl with clubfoot? With her foot painfully twisted as she tries to walk, every step is agony.

Here in New Zealand, Asha would have access to professional medical treatment, but in the overcrowded refugee camps, access to medical care is limited and not commonly known about amongst the refugee communities. Her father Jafor exclaimed, “I thought my child would never have a normal life. That left me very sad.”

Jafor saw Asha’s life roll out before her. Picked on, bullied, and left out because of her disability. Unable to keep up with other children or join in their games. Even the closest camp school would be too far away for her to walk to. Last in line for food aid, and refugee services.

As a dad, Jafor felt hope was lost for his beautiful wee daughter. How could he find help for her in these camps? And in amongst all this pain, what he didn’t realise was how urgent her need was. Her tendons becoming more rigid as she grows, until only extensive surgery could help her. Something no refugee family could afford that.

Her dad had every reason to fear for his little girl, but his love for Asha was so great that he never gave up seeking and asking: Can anyone help Asha?

Finally, he found a neighbour who knew about the cbm-funded Medical Centre. Jafor set out with his little girl, to find it. He carried Asha for more than an hour through their camp and into another huge camp called Balukhali.

In the heart of the Balukhali camp they found a slice of heaven created by generous people like you. An oasis in the overcrowded refugee camp. The cbm-funded Medical Centre!

They were warmly welcomed. Then Asha’s father witnessed something he had never seen in his entire life: healthcare professionals. Doctors. Nurses. Specialists.

Here they were, welcoming and examining his daughter. Diagnosing her clubfoot. Pleased to see that her foot was still pliable enough to avoid surgery.

Jafor could not believe the care and attention lavished on Asha. Not just “try this ointment, it might work”. No, they had a plan for his daughter, to lengthen and strengthen her muscles and tendons. Exercises at home – and a fortnightly session at the cbm-funded Medical Centre.

Wonderful professional healthcare – thanks to people like you, who are showing the world’s most disadvantaged people that God really does love and care about them!

People like you have helped to create an oasis – and that is exactly what Asha needs. Since the first time she felt the pain of stepping on her clubfoot, she has hardly smiled, let alone gurgled and laughed like a toddler should.

In the cbm-funded Medical Centre, Asha found a safe space. The Children’s Room is a small separate building where children can escape the pain and hardship of their disabilities. An oasis where they feel safe and play. There are toys, puzzles and balls. Even a little slide!

Asha stepped painfully and shyly into the Children’s Room that people, like you, have so generously created. She spied a little red plastic stool. Instead of sitting on it, she picked it up… and put it on her head like a hat.

She gurgled. She giggled. She started to laugh. Soon the whole room was laughing with her. Her deeply-moved dad said, “She has not laughed for such a long time.”

It will not be easy for Jafor to bring Asha back to this camp every fortnight – but her dad is committed. He wants his child to live free from pain.

This specialist therapy and care would simply not be possible without people like you. Please help keep the cbm-funded Medical Centre operating, by prayerfully sending a generous gift for children, like Asha, with disabilities.

Your gift will help support disability therapy, giving freedom from pain and independent mobility, to adults and children like Asha. It will help support the staff at the Medical Centre, including nurses, doctors, specialists and psychosocial trauma therapists. And it will go towards the vehicles the Medical Centre needs to maintain – a therapy bus to visit patients, like Asha, and an ambulance for medical emergencies.

As refugees, families like Asha’s never know what their future holds, but it means so much to have the certainty that the cbm-funded Medical Centre is there to help them. Thank you for starting 2023 with a generous gift to help sustain an oasis of love and care in the overcrowded refugee camps of Cox’s Bazar. May God bless your kind and faithful heart.

More than a million souls fled for their lives from Myanmar. In the miserable overcrowded refugees camps of Cox’s Bazar, people like you have created an oasis of professional disability care. Please help to keep it operating, by sending your generous gift today to free adults and children, like Asha, from a life of pain and isolation, so they can live independently.