Ethnic Rohingya Muslims have been fleeing Myanmar (also known as Burma) to escape mass atrocities committed by Myanmar’s security forces in what is considered ethnic cleansing and one of the world’s most pressing humanitarian crises. That’s why the Government of Canada is teaming up with charities and everyday donors to help.
The Rohingya, a mostly Muslim minority of Myanmar, have suffered persecution from the government since the 1960s; they are effectively a stateless people, unable to call a place their own. Now, the military government has blamed the Rohingya for a recent attack on a border station. Their response was to deliver swift retaliation, burning hundreds of villages to the ground and killing unarmed men, women, and children.
Vigilantes have taken it upon themselves to exacerbate the situation, committing murder, rape and atrocities that are being called ethnic cleansing. More than half a million Rohingya have left Myanmar for Bangladeshi refugee camps in an incredibly short time, suffering appalling living conditions and further abuse from the military. World leaders have condemned the actions of the Myanmar government, though any direct action by outside governments is complicated since Myanmar is an independent state.
The Bangladesh camps around Cox’s Bazar lack adequate food, water, sanitation, healthcare and shelter for the more than 600,000 Rohingya in a country itself suffering from poverty and political strife. For a detailed look at the crisis, try Rohingya crisis explained in maps.
In response, the Government of Canada has founded the Myanmar Crisis Relief Fund, a program that will match donations from Canadians to charities raising money to help the Rohingya people through this difficult time. Donations must be monetary (no property or Van Gogh paintings), less than $100,000, made between August 25, 2017 and November 28, 2017, and specifically earmarked for this relief program. That is, registered Canadian charities receiving donations must be raising funds for this crisis and declare it to the Government by December 5, 2017. When you give through Chimp, remember to include a note that the money should be earmarked for Myanmar Crisis Relief. For complete eligibility requirements, click here.
The Myanmar Crisis Relief Fund has identified a selection of charities that are actively working to resolve this crisis. This is not a complete list of all charities eligible for a match, but it’s a good place to start.
- Action Against Hunger – Focusing on providing food and water.
- Development and Peace – Providing food to the 25,000 most vulnerable people.
- Canadian Foodgrains Bank – 60,000 people will receive emergency food rations of oil, lentils, sugar and salt.
- Canadian Red Cross – Providing on-the-ground relief staff, including a hospital.
- Emergency Relief and Development Overseas – A $13.00 matched donation will provide five families with a 2-week basket of high nutrient food.
- Handicap International – Providing mobile medical teams.
- Humanitarian Coalition – Providing clean water, sanitation facilities, emergency food and adequate shelter.
- Unicef Canada – Supplying safe water, sanitation and vaccinations to children.
- United Nation High Commission on Refugees – Leading the emergency response in the two camps of Kutupalong and Nayapara.
- World Relief – Working in partnership with Canadian Foodgrains Bank.
- World Vision – Focused on helping the most vulnerable, including orphaned or unaccompanied children, female-led families and the elderly.
This is an incredible opportunity to double the impact of your donation and help thousands of people facing terrible consequences. Do your research, find a charity whose mission matches your values, and give what you can. And remember, it’s November, which means it’s a great time to get your end-of-year donations in so your money helps the Rohingya as well as your tax return.