Marbles and dreams in the world’s largest refugee settlement
You can help make sure more refugee girls like Sabika can realize their full potential.
Crouching barefoot in the sand, two little girls play with brightly-coloured marbles, screeching with delight whenever they hit one.
Suddenly a familiar face walks by – their teacher – and the girls scramble to their feet, racing each other to the school’s gate.
Sabika gets there first.
This morning she has English class – her favourite – and she doesn’t want to be late.
“In school, I learn math, English and Burmese. I like school because I can learn a lot of things like poems and the alphabet, and I can play,” explains the 10-year-old, who lives with her parents and four siblings in Bangladesh’s Kutupalong refugee settlement. Sabika is the second oldest.
Here in the settlement, she loves to play hide-and-seek and marbles with her friends. It’s safe here and she can move around freely to visit friends – something she doesn’t take for granted.
“I like school because I can learn a lot of things like poems and the alphabet, and I can play.”
Sabika’s family fled violence in Myanmar in late 2017, seeking refuge in neighbouring Bangladesh. Some of her friends from Myanmar live nearby, others she lost touch with when she was forced to flee.
Now safe in Bangladesh, Sabika is able to go to a UNHCR-supported school not far from where she lives.
“Sabika is talented, she comes every day and does very well. She loves drawing people, because she loves her classmates,” says her teacher Taslima Akthar, a local teacher who felt compelled to help children like Sabika after she heard about the Rohingya refugee crisis on TV.
Her dedication to helping her students reach their dreams is obvious. And Sabika’s dream is no secret.
“One day I want to be a doctor, because I want to help people,” says Sabika, with a twinkle in her eyes, before skipping back to her seat. You can help make sure more girls like Sabika can realize their full potential.