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Report: Mohammed Rukon Uddin (stringer)
Topic: An imam describes financial challenges for religious leaders in camps.
Translation summary: Almost all of the Rohingya camps of southeastern Bangladesh have mosques or madrassas, financed and built by different organizations around the world so the predominantly Muslim refugees could practice their religion.
Mohammad Siddik, 52, is an imam of Tower Mosque in Kutupalong Camp 3. He has led prayers since last year, a pursuit that’s personally gratifying but not financially rewarding.
“Every NGO has a systematic way for providing a salary to the employees, but as this is a religious institution no finance is being done by anyone,” Siddik said. “Sometimes, Rohingya people donates to continue activities and we get some from students. … But most can’t provide money.” He said he hopes others will address the situation for imams like him.
2-way: Mohammed Hussain in studio with Mohammed Idris Abdullah (stringer) in Cox’s Bazar
Topic: Reactions to new access to education for young Rohingya refugees
Translation summary: A couple of Rohingyas said they were pleased by the Bangladesh government’s decision to ease limits on schooling. The plan will allow formal schooling, with a Myanmar curriculum, for Rohingya refugee youths up to age 14. Older youths will have access to skills training.
Groups including Amnesty International had pushed for the measure.
The announcement relieved Rohingya refugees such as Mohammed Ilias. The 44-year-old lives in Kutupalong Camp 1-W with his family. He had taught school in Tombazar village in Myanmar’s Buthidaung township until escaping with his family after August 2017. His four children go to a learning center in the camp and, he told VOA, he had feared they and other Rohingya children would get no further education. He’s glad that Bangladesh’s government gave permission for the Burmese curricula, just as he is grateful that it provided refuge.
Ilias added that the camps have many educated Rohingyas – including graduate students and teaching assistants – who could help teach.
Mohammed Zubair, an activist with the rights group Arakan Rohingya Society for Peace and Human Rights (ARSPH) and resident of Lambashia Camp 1-W, told VOA he was very glad about the change and thankful that Bangladesh’s government cared about the future of Rohingyas.
But Zubair also said that Rohingyas should be taught in their own language with their own curricula, focused on Arakan. He urges the Bangladesh government and international community to continue helping the Rohingyas so they can safely repatriate.