A humanitarian organisation has warned of a “lost generation” with more than 500,000 Rohingya refugee children in Bangladesh unlikely to receive schooling in 2018.
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) said unless interventions are “urgently funded”, the humanitarian needs of children will only increase.
“Education in emergencies is a life-saving and life-changing intervention – helping children recover and cope with the continuing adversity they face,” said Sarah Smith, the IRC’s senior director for education, on Friday.
“This is incredibly urgent for Rohingya children; no one is paying attention to their needs, and they face some of the highest levels of trauma the IRC has ever seen.
“Until children’s rights to education in the Rohingya crisis are realised, we face the threat of a lost generation of what is already one of the world’s most vulnerable populations.”
UNICEF centres are havens for Rohingya child refugees
Less than two percent of humanitarian funding goes towards education, the most underfunded sector in response to the Rohingya plight, the IRC said.
Evan Schuurman, part of the Save the Children’s emergency response team in Cox’s Bazar, said in October that schooling was particularly important for traumatised refugee children.
“School isn’t just about learning,” he wrote in a piece published by Al Jazeera. “It provides routine and a sense of normality, a place where children can make friends, play and remember what it’s like to be children.
“It’s also a critical form of protection from exploitation and abuse, such as trafficking.”
According to the Oxford Burma Alliance, a student-run organisation at Oxford University, more than 60 percent of Rohingya children between the ages of five and 17 have never been to school due to poverty, government restrictions on their movement, and a lack of schools in Rakhine State, Myanmar.
The ongoing crisis has been described as the biggest forced exodus of 2017.