|Name:||Rizvi Hassan and Team|
|Location:||Hindupara, Rohingya Refugee Camp|
|Client:||Forcefully displaced Myanmar Nationals & Bangladeshi Host Community in Kutupalong (Supported by UNHCR & BRAC)|
| Notes from the Architect |
Hindupara in Kutupalong Rohingya Refugee Camp has a slightly different story than the rest of the Camp in Ukhiya and Teknaf area. As Rohingya Muslims were forcefully displaced by the security forces of Myanmar, minority groups in Rakhine state were attacked by Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), an extremist group that left them with no choice but to cross the border and save their lives (Source: India Today).
Since then, the relationship between minority and majority groups has not been in good terms. Neither could they build trust with hosting nationals and others. Fear, insecurity and unwanted incidents have been making them skeptical just more and more.
Different organizations have been trying to overcome this situation of vulnerability, like BRAC & UNHCR collaborated to create psychosocial and communal support. The aim was to work on building relationships and trust between Hindu-para community members and host communities to strengthen the means of communication. Thus, an “Integrated Community Centre” came as a proposal for building a sharing platform aiming to create aspiration for the surroundings, and be a catalyst for better communication.
Hindu-para community members and members from the adjacent local hosting community have come together to build the centre from which they can be benefitted in terms of psychosocial support, training, case management, and knowledge sharing. They designed the pattern and painted their centre (together out of surprise), which created the opportunity to open up or to become a bit more tolerable to each other. Perhaps, a layer of love during and after construction (random pattern design on-site, painting and engaging) pulls everyone together to put a little more effort towards creating and conserving in their own way.
Kamal bhai and his team (masons and craftsmen) were the ones behind the beautiful floor patters and civil works whereas Rubel bhai’s team did a tremendous job making the steel skeleton neat and deployable (and salvageable as much as possible when necessary) within the framed schedule. School going teenagers came forward to make the paintings in collaboration with displaced group. And now almost every day they visit the centre as Nahid apa and her team (Turna Apa, Joba Apa and others) are doing an amazing job by keeping the centre full of collaborative activities.
Sharing stories and landscaping together immediately worked for ice-breaking on the first day of gathering after construction. Rajpoti Shil apa (a member of Hindu-para community) and her team selected all the necessary trees and plants that can be planted within the complex as well as can be used in different ceremonies and needs. They were divided into two groups and each group listed and justified the list separately and finally came to a common agreement to make a final one. Gada, Joba, Golap, Kathal Chapa, Barota, Morichha, etc. were selected to use the flowers in Puja and other ceremonies. For other purposes like leaf, medicinal benefit and fruits they selected Bel, Kola, Tulshi, Aam, etc.
The largest refugee camp has been formed in a very short time with an immense amount of work and intensive use of local resources. Rapid use of non-treated bamboo, tarpaulin and straw have made the camp grow like an organic entity in the emergency period.
“The total national supply of bamboo is diminishing over time, whilst demand is growing” – Humanitarian Bamboo Technical Report.
Structural bamboo (i.e Borak bamboo) requires three years on an average to re-grow whereas bamboo used for partitioning (i.e Muli/Nali/Ora/Khag/Dolu etc.) require one year. Unless proper planning is established for harvesting and safely treating Borak bamboo in nearby areas (for lower cost and easy availability in intervals) alternative schemes can play vital roles in the development phase of the camp.
Hence steel comes as an immediate alternative solution which is easily available as the steel industry in Bangladesh is based in the port city Chittagong which is nearby Cox’s Bazar.
A deployable scheme with steel members as primary structure and flat-pack modules (made of minimum mild streel section and Muli bamboo infill) can offer less wastage of resources, transportability, reusability and clean construction/ease of construction.
The scheme consists of some basic components such as- minimum footing, brick flat soling and segmented CC casting as floor (for ease of repairing & dismantling), low height wall, steel structure, modular partitioning/window/door system, and roof. Several other layers offered everyone better acceptability and integration, such as- pattern for portions of floor (waste materials i.e broken tiles, glasses), colorful mattresses for secondary layer in roofing (reduces heat in interior and creates a vibrant space and festive environment), landscaping with the users (sharing of local knowledge and ownership building), colorful patterns in walls (engage users to establish a mean of communication).
In this transitional period, structures in camp require to be better in terms of dignity and usability within temporary schemes. For that, deployable/reusable systems that are contextual and adaptable can set examples as well as prevent wastage & damage collectively. It also ensures better use of foreign aids for better living quality.
Foreign aid can be either charity (can make a community weaker) or a thoughtful investment to make it powerful. To make it a thoughtful investment, it is always important to figure out ‘how’ rather than only ‘what’ when someone is dealing with projects based on foreign aid. In a dense refugee camp where the hosting group is very nearby and affected, it is very much essential to understand on-site scenario and context instead of fulfilling checklists. BRAC-UNHCR collaboration has been a blissful one in this regard, that is for sure.
BRAC Humanitarian Crisis Management Programme
Kamal bhai, Rubel bhai ,Rajpoti Shil apa, Md. Syedullah & others (Masons & Community members)
Rizvi Hassan (Architect)
Biplob Hossain (Engineer)
Shah Alam (Head, Technical Team, BRAC hcmp)
Shahidul Islam Khan
Saad Ben Mostafa
Sheikh Jahidur Rahman
Azmayeen Khan (Electrical Engineer)
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