NEW DELHI: Rohingya students in the national capital are slowly but surely heading towards a better life, with improved access to education and a promise to aim for the sky.
An inspiration for many, her age, in the refugee community from Myanmar, 22-year-old Tasmida Johar is bidding to pursue an undergraduate course at Jamia Millia Islamia University.
Recalling the horrific days when every moment she lived seemed like a luxury, young Tasmida’s family was on the run in their own country, fleeing persecution, in 2005.
She reached India in 2012 after a brief halt in Bangladesh where she received her primary education.
With the help of humanitarians from across the world, Tasmida became the first Rohingya refugee in India to clear her board examinations.
The Kanjen Kunj refugee camp, in south Delhi, where she came to settle after her flight from Myanmar, was reduced to ashes in a fire last year.
She and her family had to move to another rehabilitation facility in the wake of the incident. However, Tasmida did not let the tragedy affect her.
She has applied for an LLB course, under foreign quota, at Jamia Millia Islamia.
The university however does not conduct entrance exams for foreign students and they instead have to shell out higher fees for the course.
“We had launched an online campaign to raise funds for her studies. We have reached half of our target,” Ali Johar, Tasmida’s brother, said.
In Myanmar, Rohingyas are not allowed to study beyond class 10.
“Authorities withhold our class 10 results. So, there was no hope of us getting jobs,” he said.With support of United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and several other NGOs — Bosco Foundation, Zakkat Foundation, and Ubais Sainulabdeen Peace Foundation — Tasmida and more like her received basic education.
Ubais Sainulabdeen Peace Foundation(USPF) provides basic education to the refugee children and youth under a project named ‘School of Humanity’.
“Our first job is to convince the parents of these children to let them learn. Most are uneducated and don’t speak the local language… It was a tough task educating them on the basics of hygiene, as well as imparting Hindi and English lessons,”
Junaid Ali, a volunteer associated with Ubais Sainulabdeen Peace Foundation, said.
More than a dozen Rohingya students are busy building big dreams in a two-room apartment hostel at Zakir Nagar, near Jamia Nagar. It is run by Ali Johar, a youth leader of the Rohingya community.
Johar, who also runs the Rohingya Literacy Programme, a project sustained through donations said that all expenses, including food, essential items and tuition, are borne by them.
Foyazul Haque, who is in his late teens, wants to be an engineer and dreams of a happy reunion with his family in Bangladesh some day.
Muhammad Ayas (20) who reached India in 2017 wants to be an engineer as well.
“I’m studying hard for the board exam and am hopeful of scoring well,” he said.
NGO provides facilitates education
Ubais Sainulabdeen Peace Foundation (USPF) provides basic education to the refugee children and youth under a project named ‘School of Humanity’.
They have setup madrasas and learning centers at refugee camps and have appointed teachers on a paid basis.