Building durable bamboo shelters in Cox’s Bazar

Addressing the housing and accommodation crisis that Rohingya refugees face in Bangladesh for more dignified lives.

Building durable bamboo shelters in Cox’s Bazar

Addressing the housing and accommodation crisis that Rohingya refugees face in Bangladesh for more dignified lives.
House made out of bamboo in a camp setting.

Contact details

Submitted by: Munevver Huseyın MOLLAOGLU - Responsible of the South Asian Countries, The Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (IHH)

Email: [email protected]




Introduction to the project 


Bangladesh, Chittagong / Cox’s Bazar


The project began in December 2017.

Currently, 9.500 bamboo shelters have been completed. The project will be completed once 13.000 bamboo shelters are constructed. 


The Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief or İHH is a conservative Turkish NGO, which is working now in more than 100 countries around the globe. IHH aims to reach every region hit by wars, disasters, poverty and human rights abuses, and believes that civilian initiatives play a complementary role in resolving humanitarian problems (besides from interventions by states and international organizations). IHH's goal is to deliver humanitarian aid to all people and take necessary steps to prevent any violations against their basic rights and liberties. These goals are achieved through the delivery of food, clothes and tents to crisis regions hit by wars, conflicts, and natural disasters so that victim's urgent needs are met. The foundation further provides health services in drought and aridity-stricken regions where poverty and deprivation have become chronic, and carries out long-term projects that aim at enabling local peoples stand on their own feet. For those wanting to work with the organization, some emphasized activities include taking active part in their activities, making donations or fund-raising, organizing seminars, and distributing posters.

Context and the need for Shelter Houses: 

Bangladesh is experiencing one of the worst humanitarian crises in its history due to an unprecedented influx of refugees from Myanmar. As of December 2017, 623,969 refugees have arrived in Bangladesh since August 25th, 2017. These 623,969 refugees have joined 412,518 that have fled in earlier waves of displacement, for a total refugee population of over a million. Refugees arrive in Bangladesh with very few possessions and are now living in extremely difficult conditions. Many have used their savings on transportation and for the construction of shelter. They are reliant on humanitarian assistance for food and other lifesaving needs. With the continuing influx of refugees, pre-existing camps have expanded into informal (makeshift) camps and spontaneous settlements. Most new arrivals (578,000 people) are reportedly living in makeshift or new spontaneous settlements, while 46,000 are staying with host communities.

Our Bamboo shelter project is key in addressing the housing and accommodation crisis that Rohingya refugees face in Bangladesh. 

Project aims 

Constructing durable shelter houses for the Rohingya is our main goal:

Most people have houses to live in or some kind of shelter. However this is not the case for Rohingya refugees who are living in Bangladesh without any kind of formal accommodation. Indeed, shelter is always needed - there is a big influx of refugees and torrential rains and hillsides make many houses unusable. In order to meet such realistic demands, there is no alternative but to construct durable shelter houses made out of bamboo.

Resources used 

Financial and volunteering


VIDEO: Arakan Kamplarında İHH’nın Yaptığı Binlece Bambu Ev



  • Small Kindness (SKB)
  • Self Development Initiative (SDI)

Challenges and how they were overcome


  1. As there was a very big number of refugees, how and where these shelter houses would be installed became the major challenge. Addressing this priority became a really tough task for the project managers.
  2. Bamboo and other necessary materials are not available near the camp, hence transportation was also a big challenge.
  3. Rainy season hampered the construction activities.
  4. Quality assurance was a challenging job, mostly since it requires meticulous monitoring.
  5. Purchasing the giant amount of bamboos and required materials within a short time span was the toughest challenge.

How they were overcome:

  • Separating tasks
  • Explaining the project

Results of the Good Practice 

1) The accommodation crisis of refugees was resolved: 

Rohingya people have faced decades of systematic discrimination, statelessness and targeted violence in Rakhine State, Myanmar. By far the largest and fastest refugee influx into Bangladesh was triggered in August 2017. Since then, an estimated 745,000 Rohingya have come to Cox’s Bazar.

2) Their living standards have improved with bamboo shelters: 

In Myanmar, entire villages were burned to the ground, families were separated and killed. Most of the people who escaped were severely traumatized after witnessing unspeakable atrocities. These people benefited By IHH’s temporary shelters in refugee camps around Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.

How the project meets the GCR Objectives

Objective 1: Ease the pressures on host countries

Objective 2: Enhance refugee self-reliance

We are building these makeshift shelter bamboo houses within the government fixed camp area. As we are construct a house, we accommodate one refugee family (who were living in a deplorable way - almost like a burden upon a host family). This helps reduce the mountainous pressure that goes towards the host communities. As such, our shelter project is easing the pressure on host communities and also enhancing the self-reliance. Coming within the camp area, these new refugees are getting the chance to live with their own community and become inspired to do something for their own.


VIDEO: Arakan Kampları’nda Türkiye farkı