OBAT Helpers — “Humans of New York photographer Brandon Stanton raises more than $1M for Rohingya refugees”

Lauren Cook, “Humans of New York photographer Brandon Stanton raises more than $1M for Rohingya refugees,AM New York March 9, 2018

Nobody was prepared for this. There are now 700,000 people trying to figure out how to survive in the middle of nowhere. A few months ago, this entire area was a national forest reserve. It was covered with trees. But the refugees had nothing when they arrived, so they started cutting the trees for fuel. Then they moved on to shrubs. Now they’ve dug up all the roots so there’s nothing left but loose soil. It’s too dangerous for them to go home so we’re trying to make the best of the situation. Almost all the refugees are living in plastic tents right now. They’re extremely vulnerable. So we’ve designed sturdy bamboo houses and we’re building them as fast as we can. We want to finish as many as possible before the monsoon season arrives.

— Immad Ahmed, OBAT Helpers

Humans of New York photographer and humanitarian Brandon Stanton has raised more than $1 million to help Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh in less than a week.

On Sunday, the Humans of New York Facebook page began sharing photos and stories of refugees who were pushed out of their homes in Myanmar by Buddhist extremists.

Nearly 700,000 men, women and children who have “experienced and witnessed many atrocities” fled to refugee camps in nearby Bangladesh to escape the violence in recent months, according to Stanton’s GoFundMe page.

“Most of these refugees have settled in two sprawling camps just over the border: Kutupalong and Balukhali,” Stanton wrote on the GoFundMe page. “While aid agencies such as the [United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees] are doing their best to cope with the humanitarian crisis, most refugees are provided with only the basics they need to survive.

As monsoon season approaches, Stanton set out to raise $1 million to help build bamboo shelters for the refugees, who are mostly living in plastic tents.

“When the monsoons arrive, these tents will provide almost no protection from the elements,” Stanton wrote.

Within the last five days, the GoFundMe campaign has raised more than $1,127,900, surpassing Stanton’s $1 million goal. Donations have poured in from 110 countries and territories, according to GoFundMe.

The money will be put toward building 1,500 homes with the help of Love Army, an organization that has separately raised more than $2 million for Rohingya refugees.

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