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Turkey educates 4,000 Rohingya children in Pakistan

June 7, 2017

Turkey's Diyanet Foundation gives Rohingya children hope, teaches mathematics, religion and culture

KARACHI, Pakistan -- Turkey’s Diyanet Foundation is providing schooling to 4,000 Rohingya children in Pakistan's commercial capital Karachi, the project's coordinator has said.

Ahmet Kandemir told Anadolu Agency the scheme, which started in 2015 with 25 courses, now includes 100 courses.

Students enrolled in the program are taught Urdu, English, mathematics, religion, culture and the Quran. Books and logistic support for the schools are all provided by the foundation.

The project targets the coastal Korangi and Malir districts of the city, where the Rohingya population ekes out a living as cheap labor in the fishing industry.

A law passed in Myanmar in 1982 denied Rohingya -- many of whom have lived in Myanmar for generations -- citizenship, making them stateless, removing their freedom of movement, access to education and services, and allowing arbitrary confiscation of their property.

They have been fleeing Myanmar in droves since mid-2012, when communal violence broke out in Rakhine state between ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims.

For years, members of the minority have been fleeing to nearby countries, including Pakistan.

"The Rohingya have settled on the eastern shores of Pakistan, escaping political pressure from their countries," Kandemir said. "These people have no right to citizenship in Pakistan so they are deprived of any kind of service provided by the government.

"With the support and donations we get from Turkish people we are looking forward to give these children hope for their future."

Zafer Iqbal, managing director of Diyanet's Pakistan partner The NGO World, said the schools are monitored by the education directorate.

"The families in these areas have never had the opportunity to send their children to schools," he said. "Now they have a goal, a hope." 

Reporting by Mahmut Serdar Alakus;Writing by Meryem Goktas

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