Bangladesh Shutters Dozens of Schools Set Up by Rohingya in Camps

Image from the upcoming film “Hossain”

By Susan MacLaury

This is a challenging time to care about human rights when so many are being trampled around the world with seeming impunity. The rights of Ukrainians to live safely in a democracy. The rights of American women to make reproductive choices. And now the rights of more than 400,000 school-age children to pursue education in the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh.

While filming our documentary “Hossain” about a 6-year old Rohingya child whose family has lived in a Bangladesh camp since 2018, we saw that only Koranic schools existed for refugees originally. Bangladesh prohibits humanitarian groups from providing Rohingya children education beyond basic, informal primary level classes, and many community groups and schools arose to fill that gap. In November 2021, the Bangladeshi government allowed UNICEF to offer education consistent with Myanmar curricular standards as a pilot program for 10,000 older Rohingya children. However, as of today, dozens of the community schools have been summarily closed due to an unfounded fear that if a generation of Rohingya are educated in Bangladesh, they will never leave the country.

The fact of the matter is that many Rohingya parents say that their return to Myanmar and successful resettlement depends on their children being properly educated. It is time we start listening to our young people and their families; they know what they need to grow into resilient individuals, we just have to hear them.

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Dr. Susan MacLaury, PhD, LSW is the co-founder and Executive Director of the non-profit media company Shine Global which gives voice to underserved children and their families by telling their stories of resilience to raise awareness, promote action, and inspire change.  She executive produced the Academy Award® Winning documentary Inocente, the Emmy Award®-winning, Academy Award®-nominated War/Dance, as well as The Harvest (La Cosecha), 1 Way Up in 3D, The Eagle Huntress, Through Our Eyes: Homefront, and Liyana. She is also the producer of the documentary films The Wrong Light and Virtually Free and co-producer of Tre Maison Dasan. Susan is dually degreed in social work administration and health education and was associate professor of health education at Kean University from 1994 through 2013.

Shine Global is an award-winning non-profit media company that gives voice to children and their families by sharing their stories of resilience to raise awareness, promote action, and inspire change. We produce inspiring films and compelling content about at-risk children. Through tailored distribution and outreach, we connect with our audiences in communities, classrooms, museums, and on capitol hill as part of a powerful engagement campaign to encourage social change.



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