Linda Muriuki and Regina de la Portilla in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh May 26, 2022 | English | Spanish
A dozen young women between the ages of 15 and 24 enthusiastically recite the English alphabet in a bamboo classroom at the Kutupalong camp in Cox’s Bazar district, Bangladesh. They then do some drawing before advising the board on what to do about issues related to menstruation and reproductive health as well as gender-based violence.
The girls are part of a group of 70 juvenile clubs that provide informal education to about 10,000 young Rohingya refugees living in the camp, home to nearly one million Rohingya who have fled violence and persecution in Myanmar.
More than 50% of the refugees are of school age, but many have not had access to formal education since coming to Bangladesh. Younger children may join the learning center, but until recently the informal program was mainly to read, write and learn basic arithmetic and was aimed only at children aged 4 to 14 years.
With the approval of the Government of Bangladesh, UNHCR, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, UNICEF and their partners have established a more formal education program based on Myanmar’s national curriculum, which will enable the camp to meet significant educational deficits, including older children.
“If I could continue my studies, I would be a doctor or a teacher. A
As of May 1, 10,000 students had switched to the curriculum in Myanmar as part of a pilot project. However, until this new curriculum is fully implemented, most children over the age of 14 continue to have limited access to education. Teen clubs help fill that void for young people like Yasmin, who was just one year of primary school when she fled Myanmar to Bangladesh with her family in 2012.
“If I could continue my studies, I would be a doctor or a teacher … but we don’t have that kind of opportunity.”He explains.
“The activities organized by the teen club are very important for young girls as they learn basic numbers and literacy skills. It helps them to know about their personal health and hygiene as well as the risks of child marriage. ”UNHCR Education Officer Hanisa Akter said.
During a five-day visit to Bangladesh this week, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi met with Yasmin and other girls from her club to discuss their future goals.
He described the implementation of Myanmar curriculum as an important step in improving the living conditions of Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar. “Education is a right for children, wherever they are, and it is essential if we are to prepare them to return to their country.”What he has announced.
The High Commissioner also met with members of the youth group receiving environmental training from UNHCR and its partner organization, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). These young people are now taking charge of efforts to green the camps and are coming together to raise awareness about the consequences of the climate crisis.
“We are experiencing climate change every day.”Underlined 18-year-old Mohammad Rafiq, who is part of one of the five teams. “Last year we experienced extreme weather during the rainy season. Most of the shelters in the lowlands have been flooded and we have had to rescue many people. A
His team is focusing on improving waste management in the camps as a way to limit flooding. “People used to throw rubbish everywhere.”He said. “Waste clogs the water pipes, so when it rains, it floods and the waste spreads around the camp. A
In addition to making bamboo bins and distributing them around the camp, the young volunteers raise awareness among their community about the importance of preserving the environment and the wildlife that roams the camp from nearby forests.
Filippo Grandi welcomes the development of projects that allow young people in the camp to acquire skills and feel useful.
“Education and skills development are essential for refugees to rebuild their lives if conditions are right for their successful return and reintegration to Myanmar.”He concludes.
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