International footballer and UNICEF Japan Goodwill Ambassador, Makoto Hasebe, made a surprise visit to the Rohingya refugee camps during the celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr on 5 and 6 June.
The refugees were in festive mode and provided a warm welcome to the Japanese soccer star. Hasebe travelled to Bangladesh to gain insights into UNICEF’s humanitarian work and to promote the rights and well-being of Rohingya children.
The Japanese footballer was not deterred by the monsoon rains which fell heavily during a game of soccer with young Rohingya boys. The match – played in muddy conditions with much slipping and sliding – provided a welcome respite for young refugees.
During his visit, Hasebe spent time at a UNICEF supported stabilization centre – where children with life threatening severe malnutrition receive 24-hour inpatient care – and met mothers who were nursing their children back to full health.
He spoke to a woman taking care of her sister’s baby after she died, leaving it without any breastmilk. The woman was learning how to become a wet nurse to ensure the infant receives the best nutrients.
UNICEF is targeting over 1.2 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in Cox’s Bazar from both the Rohingya and local Bangladeshi communities. The Government of Japan has been a key partner for UNICEF since the onset of this refugee crisis contributing USD 27 million to address critical needs. Urgent funding is required to continue this life-saving emergency operation~UNICEF