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NGO donates learning packs to 115 Rohingya children from Knowledge Garden Learning Centre

Syed Hamid (right) and Humaniti Malaysia committee member Zainudin Ismail (second from right) presenting the school packs comprising workbooks, exercise books and bags to the Rohingya children. — Photos: AZHAR MAHFOF/The Star

By Jade Chan
May 20, 2016

THE children could barely contain their excitement as they received their packs with some ripping open the packaging and stuffing the books into their new bags.

Humaniti Malaysia had presented the books and bags to some 115 children aged between six and 14 from the Rohingya community.

“The books on Bahasa Malaysia, Mathematics, English and Science will be used for their sessions at Knowledge Garden Learning Centre.

“These refugee children can’t go to mainstream schools as they are stateless. So they receive an education at this centre in Seri Kembangan,” said Humaniti Malaysia secretary-general Ahmad Tarmizi Mukhtar, adding that the centre’s teachers are volunteers.

Humaniti Malaysia, he said, is a non-governmental organisation established in December 2014 that focuses on humanitarian and education causes. It is also linked to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

“We are active in Myanmar, where we provide food and medicine to those in need, as well as in Malaysia, where we provide school supplies and volunteers to teach Myanmar refugees,” said Ahmad Tarmizi.

Humaniti Malaysia president Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar, who is the special representative to the OIC on Rohingya Muslims, presented the learning packs sponsored by the Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development.

Syed Hamid urged the Malaysian government to create an identification system for the Rohingya or issue cards similar to those given to refugees from Syria, Cambodia and Aceh.

“Having some form of identification would give them access to public health and education as well as look for jobs,” he said, adding that the Rohingya cannot even register deaths due to lack of documentation.

“This limits their freedom of movement and puts them at risk of social problems, including criminal activities.

“The worst part is that a majority of those at risk are women and children,” said Syed Hamid.

In line with the establishment of the Asean Economic Community in 2015, he said the governments of Asean countries should recognise the presence of the Rohingya and have a definitive policy to deal with refugees.

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