Rohingya relief in Bangladesh
Commonwealth Point of Light 61. Sharmin Sultana
Sharmin Sultana, representing Bangladesh, is an experienced reproductive health-care provider and clinical trainer supporting Rohingya women and girls in the Kutupalong refugee camp in the Cox’s Bazar District.
Sharmin provides vital antenatal, delivery and postnatal care and ensures women and girls can prevent or safely end an unwanted pregnancy. She provides training to paramedics, midwives and doctors working in the camps, many of whom are not initially comfortable talking about rape, gender-based violence, or abortion. She has also ensured that emergency procedures are in place for staff to support women and girls in the aftermath of rape.
“I feel so good, proud and in fact I was speechless when I received the information about the award. It is a recognition not just for me but for all the case workers of ‘Mukti’, the NGO I work for and mostly for the Rohingya women for their enormous resilience. I tried my level best to serve the women who came to me but when I look back, I feel that I could not provide all that they needed and I feel disappointed about that. Though this award is something that I will treasure for life, my first award was given by the Rohingya woman whom I saw at Balukhali refugee camp thanking and walking confidently after her session with me.”
Alison Blake CMG, UK High Commissioner in Bangladesh, said:
“I am delighted that Sharmin Sultana’s work and tremendous dedication providing support to Rohingya women refugees affected by gender-based violence has been recognised. Particularly because she provides support to women who are at the most difficult time of their lives. Sharmin’s work with midwives and doctors in the refugee camps in Bangladesh to ensure access to clinical services for survivors of gender-based violence is so vital. Sharmin’s dedication, teamwork and kindness is truly a Point of Light for us all to be proud of. We congratulate her for winning this well deserved award.”