New Straits Times
December 25, 2012
KLANG: In a move to equip the Rohinya community with the necessary knowledge and self-belief, non-governmental organization (NGO), Future Global Network Foundation (FGN) recently recently established the Rohingya Education Centre (REC), in Batu Belah, here.
The school which is the second in the country following a similar centre Permatang Pauh, Penang, was initiated by the United Nations High Commissioner Refugees (UNHCR) which funds the program, FGN as the project manager and daily operations is handled by NGO, Wadah Percerdasan Umat Malaysia (WADAH).
FGN chairman, Ahmad Azam Ab Rahman, said the centre which began operations on July 15, currently accommodates over 100 Rohingya students aged between five to 17 years from its community throughout the district.
“We came up with the initiative as we felt that the community as a whole had been going through this stigma of being inferior among other communities in Malaysia.
“Our aim is to instill confidence in their children through basic education, so that they will be able to survive and hold their heads up high when they are equipped to look for a living in the country,” he said when met after the launching ceremony, here, today.
Ahmad said that the centre which currently has seven staff including a head master and six teachers, conduct five classes and teach subjects such as Bahasa Melayu, English, Mathematics, Science, Moral Education and Arts to its students.
“The centre operates from 8.30am to 1.30pm from Monday to Friday and after the session ends, the children then attend Islamic religious studies classes at nearby madrasahs.
“Most of the students especially the older ones at first do not even know how to read, write or count in the beginning, but now they are able to speak Bahasa Melayu and read English proficiently following classes” he said.
He said following the success of the first centre, he hoped that this current centre will enable the students one day if Myanmar accepts them as citizens to blend in easily with the society there without fear or prejudice.
He added that in the future, students who excel well in their studies will be sponsored to pursue their secondary education at private schools.
The United Nations has reported that the Rohingya community who hail from the Rakhine state of western Myanmar is one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.
Many Rohingya have fled to ghettos and refugee camps in neighbouring Bangladesh and the Thai- Myanmar border following ethnic unrest for the past 35 years.
There at least 24,000 Rohingyas refugees in Malaysia.