Mahmuda fled with her 8-year-old son Rashid and her mother, who is blind. Over the span of eight days, the threesome walked over hills, through a forest and over a river with no food.
“Thousands of soldiers came,” Mahmuda describes. “They came into our houses. They killed the men and the children. Then they set our houses on fire. They threw children into the fire. They killed my husband.”
Now in Bangladesh, they have food from WFP — rice, cucumbers, salt, some chili peppers.
The family has also eaten High-Energy Biscuits, fortified with lifesaving nutrients, just like the ones Rashid used to eat in school in Myanmar as a mid-morning snack.
Fueling Dreams for a Better Future
Refugee families settling in Cox’s Bazar receive monthly WFP rations of rice, lentils and oil. But making meals out of these ingredients is challenging because of the reliance on open fires for cooking and the need to gather firewood that is otherwise too expensive to buy.
Collecting firewood can be dangerous. Refugees, especially those who are women and children, risk violence, kidnapping and trafficking.
“It is dangerous there,” 16-year-old Sonidal Amin says about going into the forest each day. “The forest officer doesn’t want us refugees collecting firewood.”
Right now, WFP is working with the International Organization for Migration and the Food and Agriculture Organization to find the right solution. Plans include the distribution of Safe Access to Fuel and Energy (or SAFE) stoves, production of alternative fuels and regeneration of land used for firewood. SAFE stoves are fuel-efficient, saving up 45 percent of wood compared to more traditional fire pits.