The Rohingya are a Muslim minority group in Rakhine State, on the western coast of Myanmar. More than one million people in Myanmar identify as Rohingya but face continual anti- muslim persecution from the government of Myanmar who claim they are not a genuine ethnic group but are Bengali immigrants, whose presence is a legacy of colonial times.
Since the government passed the 1982 Citizenship Act, the Rohingya people have been denied access to citizenship and subjected to grave human rights abuses at the hands of the authorities and local population in Myanmar.
Many groups have described the treatment of the Rohingya as genocidal, yet the international community have largely ignored their plight for many years.
To escape this treatment over the years, Rohingya refugees have made perilous journeys at sea or fled across borders, often to countries that are already impoverished and over populated.
Conditions for those that have made it across the border are desperate, and children have no opportunity for education. Official refugee camps are at capacity, overspilling into illegal makeshift camps.
Denied help from the government and the UN, there is the risk of an entire generation of stateless Rohingya children growing up unable to read or write.
Bangladesh was already hosting around 400,000 Rohingya people, when a further 75,000 Rohingya refugees fled Rakhine State to Bangladesh after attacks killing nine Myanmar border police in October 2016 triggered an additional surge of violence from the military towards the people group.
Advocacy groups at the time called for an independent UN investigation into these atrocities. When the report was released in February 2017 it detailed devastating cruelty to Rohingya children, men and women and called for the international community to urge the military in Myanmar to bring these operations to an end.
Just under a year later on 25th August 2017, attacks on a number of police stations by a small group of Rohingya prompted a devastating bout of violence from the Myanmar military towards the civilian Rohingya population.
Over 310,000 have fled across the border into makeshift refugee camps and local communities. Children on the Edge partners on the ground report the situation as ‘chaotic’ and ‘unpredictable', as they join the effort to provide aid to thousands of arrivals, fleeing what the UN is describing as a 'textbook example of ethnic cleansing'.
With thousands more refugees arriving every day, the needs far outweigh the resources available. Children on the Edge is responding to both the immediate relief needs of the new arrivals as well as preparing to provide services once the crisis passes and world's attention turns elsewhere. There are tens of thousands of newly-displaced, stateless children who are extremely vulnerable, arriving in communities where we are working. Please make a donation to help us support and protect as many of them as we can.
What we are doing to help
Operating in environments that are hostile to refugees is difficult, but together with our local partners, Children on the Edge has developed a unique model to deliver primary education for Rohingya children living in exile in a large makeshift refugee camp in Bangladesh.
We operate 45 classrooms in the camp. These enable 2,700 children to come to a safe, child friendly environment and gain a full primary education.
We have 45 teachers, who are all are trained at the beginning of the year and receive ongoing refresher trainings in the camp, so that they can provide the best education possible.
Each school is equipped with text books, slates and chalk, mats to sit on and other educational resources.
All children follow a government recognised curriculum and take exams, ensuring that their education is officially recognised in the future, despite their migrant status.
The situation here is desperate, with refugees pouring over the border to flee from the current violence. Our work here is more vital than ever.