Turkish aid group offers education to Rohingya children

By Kaan Bozdogan

COX'S BAZAR, Bangladesh (AA) – A Turkish aid agency has opened two educational centers for children at a Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh.

The Istanbul-based Sadakatasi Foundation opened the centers — each of which can educate 70 children – at the Balukhali No. 5 camp in the Cox’s Bazar district, where over the last year some 750,000 Rohingya took shelter from violence and persecution in neighboring Myanmar.

The foundation officials cut the ribbon on the Musab Bin Umeyr and Ikra centers, and then a group of children recited from the Quran.

Voicing their pleasure over the centers and the aid given to them, the children together shouted “Turkey!”.

According to some Rohingya Muslims, the education centers are the first-ever at the camp.

Classes in English, Arabic, and Burmese as well as math will be given at the centers. Children will also be taught the Quran, the Muslim holy book.

Meals will be cooked for the children in a bamboo-built kitchen near the centers, and the children will enjoy breaks at adjacent playgrounds.

– Persecuted Rohingya

Since Aug. 25, 2017, more than 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s state forces, according to the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA).

In its recent report, Forced Migration of Rohingya: The Untold Experience, the OIDA increased the estimated number of murdered Rohingya to 23,962 (±881) from an earlier Doctors Without Borders figure of 9,400.

More than 34,000 Rohingya were also thrown into fires, while over 114,000 others were beaten, the OIDA report said, adding that 17,718 (±780) Rohingya women and girls were raped by the Myanmar army and police. More than 115,000 Rohingya houses were burned and 113,000 others were vandalized, it added.

According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly children, and women have fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community.

The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

The UN documented mass gang rapes, killings — including of infants and young children — brutal beatings, and disappearances committed by Myanmar state forces. In its report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity.

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