Jesmin is a Project Officer for Mukti Cox's Bazar, our partner organisation in Bangladesh, where we provide education to 7,500 Rohingya refugees in Kutupalong, the world's largest refugee camp.
Jesmin talks to us about her work, why she made a drastic career change and what she loves about her job.
Jesmin has been working for Mukti Cox’s Bazar since 2018. She has a degree in Business Administration (BBA) and a Master's of Business Administration (MBA).
“I didn’t originally plan to work in the NGO sector, let alone become a humanitarian worker. While at university, I dreamt of building a corporate career. Doing an internship at Meghna Petroleum Limited Company, one of the country’s top players in the energy industry, was a great start. But somehow I wasn’t satisfied. I was having a hard time connecting my work to societal welfare. So, although I had planned to go to Dhaka to apply for better job opportunities, I decided to return to Cox’s Bazar to my family and have a few months off to rethink my career ambitions”.
“It was only a few months later that the Rohingya crisis began. I was getting scattered news of the kind of horrifying oppression the Rohingyas had gone through in Myanmar and under what context they fled to Bangladesh. So, when I was offered the job of data enumerator at the Danish Refugee Council, I took it as I wanted to get firsthand experience of working in the camps and with the Rohingya people”.
“That decision changed the direction of my career. While in the camp, I saw the miserable situation of the Rohingya people and heard the stories of their terrifying persecution at the hands of the Myanmar army. These resulted in weeks of sleepless nights for me at that time which brought about a sharp change in my career aspirations”.
“Our prophet Muhammad said, “A Muslim should not leave another Muslim helpless in a time of need.” So, I decided to serve our Muslim Rohingya brothers and sisters as a humanitarian worker, and ended up being a Project Officer at Mukti Cox’s Bazar”.
“As a female, working in the challenging environment of the Rohingya camps in the earlier days and helping the teachers to manage the children were not easy tasks. But I always had confidence in myself and my patience, so I adjusted to the situation as time passed by”.
“Working for the Rohingya children has often been a satisfying and joyous experience for me. When I can teach the children a new lesson, help the teachers in their training, solve a problem while in discussion with the SMC [School Management Committee], I feel like I am making a positive change in the community. This has given a meaning to my journey that I want to continue in future”.
“One of the most fun parts of my job is working with the digital team as a presenter for the children's video lessons. Standing in front of the camera and delivering the lessons in an energetic way brings a great feeling”.
“I am married now. My husband is also a humanitarian worker working in the Rohingya refugee crisis. Every day we share our camp experiences with each other and discuss how we can grow further professionally”.
“However, we are a bit worried now since the nationwide lockdown is continuing for an uncertain period. This not only worries us in terms of our job security but also in terms of the beneficiaries we serve. I know students in my learning centres who dropped out and are now helping their parents to bring in household income. It will be difficult to get them back to school when the situation normalises. I hope the government will encourage effective teaching and learning in the camp, keeping the future of the Rohingya children in mind.”
In September 2021, the schools we support in Bangladesh were able to reopen after 18 months of closure, much to the relief of students and teachers.