Humanitarian Response

In the twenty-first century, building resilience is one of our most urgent social and economic issues because we live in a world that is defined by disruption. Not a month goes by that we don’t see some kind of disturbance to the normal flow of life.

-Judith Rodin, Rockefeller Foundation, The Resilience Dividend-

Communications for development volunteers spread life-saving messages and link Rohingya refugees to critical services in the camps of Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. © BRAC

BRAC takes a long-term approach to disaster recovery. Whether it’s man-made, a natural disaster, or a disease outbreak, BRAC swiftly meets basic needs, provides psychosocial support, fosters self-sufficiency, and inspires resilience.


In the last several years, BRAC USA has aided in recovery efforts after the earthquake in Nepal, strengthened systems in the garment sector following the Rana Plaza factory collapse, supported Ebola survivors in West Africa, and provided relief to families hit by flooding in Bangladesh.


In 2017, BRAC launched a comprehensive, multi-sector response to the Rohingya humanitarian crisis in Cox’s Bazar, and today we remain the largest responder to the crisis. Now, as the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 threatens families around the world, BRAC is ramping up its response efforts to ensure the health and safety of all participants, clients, and staff.

Our Responses

COVID-19 Response


As countries around the world combat the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), BRAC is working to ensure the health and safety of our participants, clients, and staff. To guide our response, we have formed a task force composed of public health, communicable diseases, and communications experts from across the organization. We are closely monitoring the spread of the COVID-19 and its potential impact on the BRAC community as the situation evolves.


At present, our teams are coordinating with the Government of Bangladesh, the World Health Organization (WHO), and relevant local authorities. Across the entire BRAC family, we are training our staff, as well as community health workers, in hygiene and awareness campaigns so they can educate the broader community about how to minimize health risks while ensuring their own safety. In the camps and settlements of Cox’s Bazar, our health team is developing public health messages to protect the vulnerable communities that are sheltering there. In all instances, we are working in tandem with and in support of the work of national governments.

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Resilience for the Rohingya


BRAC has worked in Cox’s Bazar for the last 36 years with host communities and the Rohingya population from previous influxes. Our response to the 2017 influx began with a focus on life-saving interventions in critical areas. As the situation evolved, we incorporated interventions to support everyone affected, in both camps and host communities, helping them to build long-term resilience, skills, and knowledge. Our comprehensive, holistic, and integrated humanitarian program now serves more than 500,000 people, with the broadest programming portfolio of any responder in Cox’s Bazar.

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Ebola Response


With a network of more than 800 community health workers in Sierra Leone and Liberia, BRAC was able to provide local support to families influenced by Ebola. Through this network of frontline workers, BRAC distributed chlorine, medicine, food supplies, and materials to educate communities on how Ebola is spread. In the post-Ebola period, BRAC is working to rebuild value chain linkages specifically in the agriculture sector, support adolescent girls who have become particularly vulnerable since the outbreak, and provide psychosocial support to families and communities devastated by the disease.

Read the case study

Program Highlights

Education and Learning

Education and Learning

Children make up the majority of the displaced population in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, and approximately 27% percent are under the age of six. Many of these children arrived unaccompanied, and are disproportionately vulnerable to abuse, violence, and trafficking. It is vital to provide these children – and their caregivers – with psychosocial support, safe spaces, and playful learning and stimulation opportunities to help address trauma, support their healthy development, provide a sense of routine and normalcy, and improve access to education. To address some of these children’s most pressing needs, BRAC has become the largest education provider in the response, reaching hundreds of thousands of children with its network of Learning Centers and Humanitarian Play Labs. Learn more
Skills and Resilience

Skills and Resilience

BRAC supports members of the Rohingya and host communities to build technical and life skills that increase their confidence, capabilities, and opportunities. Through training in demand-driven trades like tailoring, embroidery, solar installation, and mobile phone servicing, men and women gain skills that can serve them now and throughout their futures. Through a partnership with UNHCR, one skills program in Cox’s Bazar is training Rohingya refugee and host community women as artisans and connecting them to a buyer: BRAC’s flagship social enterprise and leading lifestyle brand, Aarong.  Learn more
Communication for Development

Communication for Development

Through our network of more than 1,000 Rohingya volunteers, we deliver life-saving information and services to thousands of vulnerable households in the refugee camps of Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Our Communication for Development (C4D) volunteers visit households door-to-door, spreading critial information on how to access services in health, nutrition, education, protection, pyschosocial support, and more. Thus far, C4D volunteers have conducted nearly 1.5 million home visits in the Rohingya settlements, organized hundreds of advocacy meetings with community leaders, and engaged thousands of adolescent girls and boys with these crucial messages. Learn more

Every Child Deserves a Childhood

Ayub is 11 years old, and he lives in the world’s largest refugee camp. Since the onset of the Rohingya humanitarian crisis in August 2017, 500,000 children like Ayub have suffered a disrupted childhood. Follow Ayub for a day, and see life through his eyes.