THE EDGE IN KUTUPALONG
Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugee children are cut off from education in the border camps of Bangladesh.
Despite decades of persecution and displacement from Myanmar, the Rohingya have had relatively little attention from the international community. In August 2017, co-ordinated military attacks against them were described by the UN as ‘a textbook example of ethnic cleansing’ and the brutal offensive forced 750,000 Rohingya over the border into Bangladesh.
They arrived directly into the border areas where we had been working already for eight years, providing education for Rohingya refugee children.
Children make up 50% of the refugee community in Kutupalong camp and, despite a wealth of agencies investing in education, currently 500,000 children still lack access. Children have suffered profound trauma and, with little access to safe, child friendly facilities, they face serious protection risks including child marriage, trafficking and child labour.
Without adequate support, children face the prospect of growing up without an education and without the means to process the horrific events they have lived through.
WHAT ARE WE DOING TO HELP?
150 classrooms in the Kutupalong camp provide community-led education in a child friendly space, for 7,500 children.
With our experience of providing education here since 2010, we were well placed to respond. Together with Mukti, we constructed 75 Learning Centres in the Kutupalong camp and trained 150 Bangladeshi and Rohingya teachers.
These unique classrooms are developed as colourful havens with vibrant ‘green spaces’ growing outside. 7,500 Rohingya children benefit from daily access to basic education, play, health inputs, nutritional support and creative opportunities.
Daily digital lessons are projected onto screens in each classroom, to break down language barriers and enable children to genuinely understand and learn. This technology also gives them the opportunity to experience something of life beyond the confines of the camp.
Through Moja Kids, their own online platform, students create video updates to share back and forth with children outside the camps. This not only gives them a voice and a place to express their talents and creativity, but enables them to interact and tackle their sense of isolation.