Xchange Press Release: The Rohingya Amongst Us: New Xchange survey looks through the eyes of the local Bangladeshi community and explores their views and concerns towards the Rohingya refugees living amongst them.

Xchange launches its ‘” The Rohingya Amongst Us” Bangladeshi Perspectives on the Rohingya Crisis Survey’ on Tuesday 28th August 2018.

The latest MOAS-funded survey, conducted over a one-month period between June and July 2018 in Southern Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar District, aims to explore the local Bangladeshi communities’ relationship with and knowledge of Rohingya refugees, and to understand the perceptible changes in their communities since the influx of Rohingya arrivals, as well as gaining an understanding of prevailing host community views on the repatriation process. 

Drawing upon nearly 1700 surveys conducted with respondents from various educational, employment, and social backgrounds across locations in the Cox’s Bazar district, the Xchange team has taken a fresh perspective on the crisis, attempting to understand for the first time how the Bangladeshi host community perceives and copes with hosting the Rohingya refugees. These are views and perceptions are not widely understood and are deserving of being brought to wider attention. This is a population that has shown empathy for the plight of the refugees, despite dealing with their own issues of poverty, unemployment and scarcity of resources. The report also highlights the daily activities of the host communities, as well as showing their increased knowledge of the ongoing political issues surrounding the Rohingya refugees.


[The Rohingya] need to be provided with sufficient food, shelter, health services, security, and especially proper education for their children until they go back to their own country.— 32-year-old Bangladeshi female from Nhilla Union


The research shows the concerns and perceptions that the Bangladeshi community have developed since the influx of over 700,000 Rohingya refugees to the Cox’s Bazar region. Respondents voiced concerns about allowing Rohingya refugees access to public facilitiessuch as schools, hospitals, mosques and community centres outside of the camps. The most striking of the findings was the community’s sense of urgency on the need to resolve the issue of repatriation.


A permanent solution is needed. Otherwise we will face a lot of problems.


60-year-old Bangladeshi male from Haldia Palong Union


Despite a large proportion of Bangladeshi respondents aware of the repatriation deal, only 33% of them believed that the refugees would be able to return in the next two years. Comparing this to Xchange’s Repatriation Survey, the Rohingya respondents were somewhat more optimistic, with 78% believing that repatriation would occur within the next two years. These contrasting views highlight the lack of information shared with the Rohingya refugees about their current situation, leaving their future uncertain. Nonetheless, the report illustrates the importance of understanding the relationship between host communities and the Rohingya refugee population, in order to facilitate a mutual agreement and promote a robust dialogue.

Every story has more than one side and certainly the recent Rohingya crisis is no different.  For the first time since we started researching this crisis, we’re able to learn and understand how the host community feels about the presence of the refugees. With this new basis of information and understanding we gained an insightful view on the host community. — Senior Research Advisor Maria Jones


What this report shows us is that the Bangladeshi people are giving whatever they can to help their Muslim brothers and sisters, despite the overwhelming poverty and difficulties they already face.  We also get to look through the eyes of the hosting community and see the compassion and empathy they feel. It is an important lesson to all humanitarians. — MOAS Director Regina Catrambone


You can find a link to the full, “’The Rohingya Amongst Us’ Bangladeshi Perspectives on the Rohingya Crisis Survey” here.

About us:

Xchange Foundation, as a data-driven organisation, firmly believes that good data can — and should — inform good policy. By producing high-quality and relevant research on the lives and fears of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, the findings gathered in this survey can pave the way for larger, more in-depth investigations on topics such as access to education, livelihood opportunities, and protection issues. Furthermore, these findings will help donors prioritise resilience for refugees in the face of the destructive power of the monsoon season.


MOAS is an international humanitarian organisation dedicated to providing aid and emergency medical relief to refugees and migrants around the world. Today, MOAS is working in Bangladesh to provide emergency medical care and assistance to Rohingya refugees fleeing violence and persecution in Myanmar.

In September 2017, in response to the critical need for medical services and provision of humanitarian relief, MOAS established two ‘Aid Stations’ in Unchiprang and Shamlapur, where Rohingya refugees can receive primary and secondary medical care, and where the local Bangladeshi population can also access emergency services.

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