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“Since my childhood, I wanted to do something impactful for women and girls”, says Anjuman Hossain, a humanitarian worker at UNFPA’s Women Friendly Spaces in Cox’s Bazar.

“But when I started to work with Rohingya women and girls, the first obstacle I faced was from my family. My husband did not want me to come so far out for work”, she says, reflecting on how she started her career as a humanitarian two years ago.

Today, Anjuman and her family take pride in her work as Project Coordinator for Gender-based Violence in Emergencies at Mukti Cox’s Bazar – a partner organization to UNFPA. In her role, she coordinates UNFPA’s 23 Women Friendly Spaces for Rohingya refugees and surrounding host communities in Cox’s Bazar, while liaising with the Government and other humanitarian partners engaged in Rohingya response work.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, Anjuman’s work has become even more challenging. Women are reluctant to come to the Women Friendly Spaces due to fear of infection. She stresses that women must continue to receive gender-based violence response services and information, while ensuring COVID-19 precautionary measures are adequately followed.  

“Women must live in a safe world. Everyone should be treated fairly and equally”, she says. She also speaks fondly of her adolescent son, and how she wants to be a role model for him. “I want him to learn to respect and treat women as human beings. My work has changed my life, and I want to see these changes within my family as well”, she says.

To encourage women to continue visiting the Women Friendly Spaces in a safe manner, Anjuman worked with religious leaders and partners to organize awareness raising sessions on how to prevent the spread of infection. She also helped to establish hand-washing and hand-sanitizing stations at each of the Women Friendly Spaces, and continues to ensure physical distancing measures are followed.  

VIDEO: Anjuman shares her experience of being a humanitarian worker during COVID-19 at Cox's Bazar


Anjuman is a real life hero. She protects women and girls from COVID-19 as well as gender-based violence, while living away from her family.

“As a humanitarian worker, we must always think about others’ happiness and peace, beyond our own family”, she says.

Today, on World Humanitarian Day, we pay tribute to all humanitarians across the world for their selfless efforts to make the world a better place for all.