Chichester charity works to provide safe education for refugee children

The 45 schools throughout the camp are safe, child friendly environments, providing vital education, care and support
The 45 schools throughout the camp are safe, child friendly environments, providing vital education, care and support

A Chichester based charity has been working to provide safe education spaces for refugee children.

As the Rohingya crisis deepens, Children on the Edge has been providing education support for thousands of Rohingya refugee children on the Bangladesh border.

Thousands of Rohingya refugees have fled to Bangladesh to escape intensive military ‘counter-terrorism’ operations.

A UN report detailing devastating cruelty to Rohingya children, men and women was released this week, which called for the international community to urge the military in Myanmar to bring these operations to an end.

Children on the Edge have been working in the Rohingya refugees’ makeshift camps to provide education to 2,700 children in a safe environment

The charity’s Asia regional manager, John Littleton, visited the Bangladesh camp earlier this month.

He said: “The level of desperation is palpable. Not only is the physical landscape changing as dozens of bamboo, plastic, mud and stick huts are built each day, but there are lines of women and elderly people sat along the main road begging, in an area that is already resource scarce. I have been coming here over five years now and never seen this before.

“There is a softening in the wider community, and local violence towards the Rohingya is subsiding as it is dawning on people that these are not ‘migrants’, they are refugees fleeing from serious systemised abuse.

“This is clear from the sheer numbers of people entering the camps, but also the visible levels of violence that these people have suffered. Families are arriving injured and bleeding, some without clothes, many in grief having witnessed the death of loved ones, this is not something you can ignore””

The schools facilitated by Children on the Edge are already at capacity, but the current focus is working with those children to create an atmosphere of safety and familiarity.

Teachers are trained from within the camps, and given specific guidance on supporting children living through trauma.

Children on the Edge report that in the face of everything they have witnessed this year, the children are making great progress in their education.

In a recent evaluation by of the schools by the charity, 92 per cent of children had exhibited signs of increased confidence and positive self-esteem.

Children on the Edge are continuing to invest in this work and are actively pursuing funds for the schools to ensure their sustainability, deliver high quality education and provide a protective environment for these children.

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