A generation at risk of being left behind
At just 19 years old, Ayesha is her siblings’ only caregiver.
The siblings lost both parents in Myanmar, and then were forced to flee brutal violence in 2017. Unfortunately, their situation isn’t unique: they are one of many child-headed households in the Rohingya settlements.
Amina goes to a local learning centre for two hours each day. Rashed hasn’t found space in a nearby classroom. “I lost my mother when I was a child and I wasn’t able ot study,” Ayesha explains. “But I will help my brother and sister as much as I can.”
Since the more than 740,000 Rohingya refugees began arriving in August 2017, UNHCR and its partners have focused on guaranteeing they have access to education. It’s a massive task: 55% of Rohingya refugees are younger than 18 years of age, while 41% are under 11 years old. So far, we have enrolled more than 62,000 children. We’ve helped construct, staff and manage 426 classrooms, 58 adolescent clubs, and 1,204 community based Early Childhood Development Centres.
On the last two years, UNHCR has recruited 1,257 teachers from both the Rohingya community and surrounding towns in Bangladesh. We’re trained these committed educators in how ot respond to his unique emergency, providing them with essential skills, such as psychosocial support practices.
However, due to funding shortages, approximately 36% of Rohingya children between the ages of 3 and 14 remain without access to primary education, while more than 91% of Rohingya refugees between 15 and 24 years old are not attending any educational facility.
UNHCR is committed to ensuring that there will be no lost generation of Rohingya learners – but the massive scope of the emergency and restrictive policies have limited consistent, meaningful access to education.
“My little brother and sister are all I have, and the ones I am living for.”
Ayesha missed out on education herself, but is committed to giving her brother and sister the best opportunities she can. She hopes that her sister will be able to continue her studies at the learning centre, and that her brother will be able to start attending class in the near future.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was established on 14 December 1950 by the United Nations General Assembly. The agency is mandated to lead and coordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee issues. It strives to ensure that everyone has the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another state, with the option to voluntarily return home when conditions are conducive for return, integrate locally or resettle to a third country. UNHCR has twice won the Nobel Peace Prize, in 1954 for its ground-breaking work in helping the refugees of Europe, and in 1981 for its worldwide assistance to refugees.