Charity co-founder from Harpenden heading on a mercy mission to help Rohingya refugees
PUBLISHED: 08:01 26 October 2017
A charity boss from Harpenden is heading to Bangladesh to provide medical care to Rohingya Muslims living in refugee camps.
Sarah Wade, 36, is the co-founder and chief exec of Humanitas, which has been working to help Syrian refugees and most recently Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.
She was due to travel to Bangladesh yesterday (October 25) with Dr Ramiz Momeni, a nurse and a first responder to address the medical needs of people living in the camps, as well as offer any supplies that are needed.
Rohingya Muslims are being persecuted in the sovereign state of Myanmar, which is a majority Buddhist state. The Rohingya have been fleeing to neighbouring countries over the course of decades.
Sarah, who lives in East Hyde and went to St George’s School, said: “I founded the organisation in 2001 and we look after education, healthcare and provide homes for abused or orphaned kids.
“We have been working for two years within the refugee camps for Syrian refugees and now we are responding to the crisis in Bangladesh.
“We’re sending a medical team of four people to provide emergency medical care to Bangladesh.”
Dr Ramiz Momeni, who also lives in Harpenden, will stay for about a month with the nurse and first responder, while Sarah will be at the refugee camps for two weeks.
She said: “Things will be assessed when we are on the ground. We want to send a first responder medical team when refugees are arriving into Bangladesh.
“There are 600,000 refugees in the camps. It’s a pretty dire situation going on. Eighty per cent are women and children because the majority of the men have been slaughtered back home in their villages.
“We will give medical care and supplies and whatever is needed. Medical care is our focus but we will try to supply whatever they need as well such as food and clothing.
“We already have an equipped team - the main preparation is research and finding where we’ll stay and where we’ll find medication.”
St Albans MP Anne Main recently paid a visit to Bangladesh and raised the plight of Rohingya Muslims during a debate in Parliament.
Following her trip, Mrs Main met with the Disaster Emergency Committee (DEC) to share her experiences of the camps with international development secretary Priti Patel, alongside fellow MPs Paul Scully and Rushanara Ali.
The group, which also included representatives from charities, discussed the importance of offering on-going charitable support and the need for improved infrastructure and health provision in the camps.
Mrs Main said: “It was important for us share our experiences of the camps with the secretary of state and to discuss what more the UK government can do, and how best UK aid is used to help people on the ground.
“The secretary of state was well informed of what is happening and I am pleased that the government is taking action.”
In a recent debate in Parliament, Mrs Main described the “tide of misery” she witnessed at the refugee camps, and said the treatment of Rohingya Muslims is “a textbook case of ethnic cleansing”.
She said: “The Rohingya have been brutalised. There are thousands of unaccompanied children and over 80 thousand pregnant women in these camps - there are serious issues of trafficking and safeguarding concerns that must be addressed.
“The Bangladesh government are doing all they can but the global community needs to do more.”
The UK Government has pledged more then £30 million in aid to the refugees in Bangladesh.