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Bhasan Char: Rohingya children deprived of education

10 June 2021

Gulam Rabbani :
No formal or informal school has been set up yet in Bhasan Char, a remote Bay of Bengal island under Noakhali district, for Rohingya children. Lack of formal educational institutions is leading the Rohingya children to a chaotic life.
During a recent visit this correspondent found that the Rohingya children in Bhasan Char were growing up through carelessness and negligence. Although some arrangement of child entertainment has been introduced, no educational institution has been set up there so far.
Many NGOs have established educational institutions in Cox's Bazar Rohingya camps, but no such educational institution has been established here yet. However, the officials concerned said that some NGOs are working to set up educational institutions.
Yasin Arafat, a Rohingya man who came to Bhasan Char with the first batch, said, "I have no job here. Our kids can't go to school because no school has been opened yet. But some NGOs including Brac and Mukti are operating schools in Kutupalong of Cox's Bazar."
Mohammad Shamsud Douza, Additional Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner, told The New Nation that discussions are still going on about the education curriculum for Rohingyas. However, there are some informal education activities in the Cox's Bazar camps.
"Coronavirus pandemic was going on when the Rohingyas' relocation in Bhasan Char was started in last December. As a result, it was not possible to introduce any educational institution for them. However, it is under process," added the official.
The Rohingya people shifted to Bhasan Char in recent months have been provided better accommodation than the camps of Cox's Bazar from where they were relocated. But only a better accommodation is not enough to run a human life. It needs more but many of the realistic needs remain unfulfilled here.
Most of the Rohingya youth in Bhasan Char don't have any job or any work to do. They spend a lazy time other than receiving relief items at a regular interval. Since they do not have enough opportunity to earn cash money, they have only a few alternatives to purchase anything they want out of relief items.
Anwar Sadeq, a Rohingya man who came to Bhasan Char with the third batch, said, "There is no employment opportunity for Rohingya people but assisting in relief work. Again the opportunity of that job comes only one day in a week and in this case, on an average, about 70 to 80 people get the opportunity to work."
These problems are creating frustration among the Rohingya youth. It has been noticed recently that some Rohingya members especially the youths are trying to flee the island through different ways. During a visit of the two high officials of UNHCR on May 31 this year, several thousand Rohingyas demonstrated over their various demands.
According to the Refugee, Relief and Repatriation Commissioner (RRRC) office, a total of 18,538 Rohingya people, belong to 4572 families, have been shifted to Bhasan Char in six phases so far. Around 50 percent of the total people are woman.
Some 40 national NGOs and a few international NGOs are operating humanitarian assistance. The UN is yet to engage in the operations in Bhasan Char, though a UN delegation recently made positive observations on the facility.
A day after the demonstration by the Rohingya people in Bhasan Char, foreign ministry in a statement said Bangladesh government is ready to address any realistic needs and concerns of the Rohingyas.
The government started the Asrayan-3 project at Bhasan Char to rehabilitate about 100,000 Rohingya people. The Bangladesh Navy has prepared the housing project after some 750,000 Rohingyas fled a brutal military campaign in Myanmar's Rakhine state and took shelter in Cox's Bazar in the months following August 2017.
Government officials working in the Bhasan Char said the island has been prepared in the meantime to accommodate more Rohingya people. Meanwhile, the government has also set program to shift 80,000 more Rohingyas staying at various camps in Cox's Bazar to Bhasan Char within the shortest possible time. 

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