Live Phuket The Phuket News The Phuket News Kata Rocks The Phuket News
The Phuket News World News
The Phuket News Phuket | Thailand | World | Business | Q&A | Weird World XML, RSS, Feed
The Phuket News The Phuket News
The Phuket News

Tackling a life in limbo: Refugees in Indonesia band together to educate children

INDONESIA: Mahboob Jafari had barely seen the inside of a classroom, let alone taught in one, before he arrived in Indonesia as a refugee fleeing persecution in Afghanistan.

culture, immigration,


AFP

Saturday 9 July 2016, 11:00AM


Refugee children attend a school in Cisarua, West Java, in a mountainous area south of Jakarta, where refugees from war-torn corners of the globe are banding together to educate their children. Photo: Bay Ismoyo/AFP
Refugee children attend a school in Cisarua, West Java, in a mountainous area south of Jakarta, where refugees from war-torn corners of the globe are banding together to educate their children. Photo: Bay Ismoyo/AFP

The 19-year-old now teaches English at a pioneering school in the mountains south of Jakarta, where refugees from war-torn corners of the globe are banding together to educate their children.

Founded by refugees, for refugees, this unique initiative is giving these children a chance to go to school while they wait years for resettlement to a new country.

“Years ago, when I came to Indonesia, I could not imagine that one day I would study in such a school like this one,” 14-year-old Ali Riad from Iraq said at the Refugee Learning Nest in Cisarua.

“In the future I want to be a doctor and help people.”

The school, which marked its one-year anniversary in March, has become a source of immense pride among the migrant community in hilly Cisarua, once a key transit point on the largely closed people-smuggling route to Australia.

Its 58 students study in four brightly-painted classrooms, borrow books from a small library and play football at lunchtime at a basic pitch constructed by the parents.

Nearly two dozen volunteers, all refugees themselves, teach mathematics, English, computer studies and art to students age six to 18.

As the children depart in the afternoon, their parents arrive for English classes – a top priority for families awaiting resettlement to new homes in countries like Canada, New Zealand, and the United States.

There are 13,745 refugees and asylum seekers registered with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Indonesia, including nearly 2,700 children of school age.

Although technically refugee children can attend Indonesian schools, very few do, UNHCR senior protection officer Jeffrey Savage said.

Language barriers, a lack of available spaces, registration problems and transport costs hinder enrolment.

The vast majority of refugee children in Indonesia go without school for years. Some are already far behind for their age, having spent a lifetime on the move.

The pupils at Learning Nest are from Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Iraq and Sri Lanka. Abbas Hussaini, one of the school’s founders, said the students were divided by age and ability but some “had no education before they came here”.

“They started at zero, from the beginning," he said, gesturing to a group of students reciting the alphabet for their Afghan teacher.

For the teachers, volunteering helps alleviate the anxiety and boredom rife in refugee transit towns like Cisarua. Once registered with the UN refugee agency, there’s little for asylum seekers to do but wait, unable to work or study.

Jafari, who fled Afghanistan after his uncle was murdered by the Taliban, said the four months he spent idle in Cisarua before volunteering “was like four years”.

MY STORAGE - Secure, Clean and Cost Effective Self Storage at Jungceylon, Phuket, Thailand

“No job, nothing to do but play football,” Jafari, from Afghanistan's persecuted Shiite Hazara minority, said.

“But this is an opportunity. Every refugee in here should use their time, because they’re not going to get it back.”

Other refugee communities around Cisarua are independently setting up their own education programs, with four schools now operating in the area.

All are backed initially by a grant from a foreign charity, which covers rent for a school building and other basic costs.

But beyond that, everything falls to the community. Parents pack lunches and maintain the school grounds, while volunteers prepare classes, manage finances and oversee administrative issues.

“We think they’re absolutely fantastic, and we encourage more of this,” Savage said.

The learning nest is already at capacity, Abbas said. Twelve students are on a waiting list as the school seeks much-needed donations for an additional classroom and learning materials.

There are still far more refugee children at home than in schools. The International Organisation for Migration (IOM), which assists refugees with housing and other essential needs, applauded community-run initiatives but stressed they only reached a handful of children in need.

“The bigger picture is that there are thousands,” IOM project manager Paul Dillon said.

By its nature, the situation is continually evolving. Abbas said one of his key co-founders was resettled to the United States just a month ago, but remains in touch via email. In July, another student will depart for Australia with her family.

Sony Samandri, a 13-year Hazara refugee from Afghanistan, is another who will eventually leave for good.

Her family has just received confirmation of their official refugee status from the UNHCR – the first step towards resettlement.

It’s a milestone for any family in Cisarua, but Samandri doesn’t want to dwell on the prospect of leaving behind her classroom.

“It’s a great opportunity to show myself that I’m talented,” Samandri said, before handing out platters of traditional food to celebrate the occasion.

“I just hope that this school will always be here.”

 

 

The Phuket News
The Phuket News
Comment on this story
* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.
Comments Here:
Username:
Password:
E-mail:
CAPTCHA
Forget your password?

Be the first to comment.

The Phuket News
The Phuket News The Phuket News The Phuket News
The Phuket News
Share this
The Phuket News
Have a news tip-off? Click here
The Phuket News
Related stories
The Phuket News
Phuket community

Recent Comments


Phuket Airport calls on travellers to prevent terminal confusion

If the passenger is unsure if the are getting an international flight or internal flight then they really are in a lot of trouble and its a wonder the...(Read More)


Phuket lifeguards warn of dangerous surf after Chinese tourist rescue

Asterix... read this: http://www.thephuketnews.com/china-officials-raise-safety-phuket-tourism-concerns-59255.php#xqW0HfgC6AjiTyl6.97. They are the...(Read More)


No murder, but suspicions in Tawatchai death

rorii...their investigative reporting is top notch. This article presents as a perfect example. Are you still crying because PN wouldn't invest...(Read More)


Phuket Airport calls on travellers to prevent terminal confusion

Maybe if they took down the sign at the old airport saying international airport and made signs at the new airport more visible there'd be less co...(Read More)


Court rules revocation of Thaksin’s passports was legal

Kurt...."I am sure he doesn't care less" yet in the sentence before you state: "What a waist of court times about Mr Taksin's p...(Read More)


Phuket Opinion: Technology the driving force in making Phuket's roads safer

Kurt.."Who cares about helmet"...you do for starters as well as commentators on here after any reports of deaths from not wearing helmets. H...(Read More)


Traffic fines likely to get S44 makeover

Just a few days ago the police chief was saying that median strips would not be removed. Anyway, what is the use of removing? You not get extra lan...(Read More)


Court rules revocation of Thaksin’s passports was legal

Kurt I agree it is a waste of court time but of course he cares, that is why he is paying for these court applications. He can travel freely but not...(Read More)


Phuket Airport calls on travellers to prevent terminal confusion

Quite funny thai. ..."Check with your booking agency".. where, my agent in Spain or Dubai? ..."we updating our web site which termina...(Read More)


Phuket lifeguards warn of dangerous surf after Chinese tourist rescue

I truely think, that you should have Red Flags, for no swimming and Yellow/Green ones when you can swim. The yellow and red confuses people. . . . ...(Read More)

The Phuket News
Bangkok Hospital Phuket
THAI VISA
PHUKET NEWS
Phuket
Thailand
World
Business
Q A
Weird World
ARCHIVE
POLL
CURRENCY
WEATHER
PHUKET TIDE TABLE
The Phuket News PHUKET LIFE
Phuket Arts
Phuket Community
Phuket Culture
Phuket Dining
Phuket Education
Phuket Entertainment
Phuket Environment
Phuket Health
Phuket People
Phuket Travel
Photo Galleries
COLOURING BOOK
The Phuket News PHUKET SPORT
Phuket
Thailand
World
SURF REPORT
PREDICTIONS
The Phuket News PHUKET CLASSIFIEDS
Phuket Buy and Sell
Phuket Jobs
Phuket Property
Phuket Cars and Boats
Phuket Community
Phuket Services
SEARCH CLASSIFIEDS
POST CLASSIFIED
The Phuket News The Phuket News PHUKET EVENTS
Phuket Event listings
Phuket Event calendar
Buy Tickets
POST EVENT
The Phuket News PHUKET DIRECTORY
Phuket Bars, pubs and clubs
Phuket Hotels and villas
Phuket Restaurants
Phuket Yellow Pages
POST LISTING
The Phuket News BARGAINS
The Phuket News ABOUT US
The Company
Distribution points
Subscribe
Advertise with us
Pay for advert
Contact us
CONTESTS
Content Google Map
Site map
Australian Visa Services
 
Currency - The Phuket News   Weather Report - The Phuket News   Surf Report - The Phuket News
LinkedIn - The Phuket News   Twitter - The Phuket News   YouTube - The Phuket News   Facebook - The Phuket News
Copyright © 2016 Class Act Media. All rights reserved. | Website usage terms and conditions | Privacy and Confidentiality Statement.