2 September 2018 | Times of India has highlighted work done by the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) to help empower Rohingya refugees that have fled to Bangladesh from violence in Myanmar.

The focus of the article in the major Indian daily, is female leadership among Rohingya refugees at the Shalbagan Camp in Cox Bazar, Bangladesh.

Two months ago, ADRA, in cooperation with the Bangladesh authorities, helped facilitate leadership elections among Rohingya refugees at the camp. The elections were for an all-female group of community leaders who would monitor the living conditions of the community. Votes were cast by secret ballot.

The leaders are tasked with ensuring the proper distribution of relief materials and are to oversee community governance.

Times of India points out that the female leadership is new for the traditionaly male-dominated culture of these refugees. The newspaper reports that ADRA hopes to build a more inclusive community and establish democratic processes in the refugee community with the freshly elected leaders.

Romida Begum, a woman in her late twenties was elected to lead the group of ten women that are overseeing the 5,000 families in the camp. She is reportedly gaining the confidence of her community as she settles into her new role.

Shalbagan Camp is the largest refugee camp in the world.

ADRA is the humanitarian arm of the Adventist denomination. According to the denomination’s Office of Archives, Statistics and Research, there are 30,394 Adventists in Bangladesh and 123 churches.

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