Rohingya refugee children of all ages are now studying under the Myanmar curriculum

Rohingya refugee children of all ages are now studying under the Myanmar curriculum

Despite fires burning down learning centres and Cyclone Mocha’s wrath, a record 300,000 Rohingya refugee children attend first day of school.

Rohingya girls happily posing for a photo inside the Mukti learning center. Pahartoli-1/2, Camp-4, Ukhia, Coxs Bazar, Bangladesh. Photo ©️ UNICEF, Sujan

COX’S BAZAR, Bangladesh, 23 July 2023 – Against the odds of displacement, fires burning down learning centres, and Cyclone Mocha’s wrath, classrooms in the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh are filling up today with children, excited on the first day of school. Thanks to expanded education opportunities for teenagers and girls, a record 300,000 children are enrolled for the 2023/24 school year.

The new academic year marks the first time that Rohingya refugee children of all ages will be studying under the Myanmar Curriculum. Since its launch in 2021, this formal curriculum has gradually been expanded with grades 3-5 and grade 10 opening today for the first time in the Cox’s Bazar refugee camps, significantly increasing learning opportunities for both older and younger children.

“Rohingya refugee children want to learn, and to turn their hopes and dreams for a better future to actual potential,” said Mr. Sheldon Yett, UNICEF Representative to Bangladesh. “The single most important ingredient for ensuring a safe and dignified return of these children to Myanmar is ensuring that they can continue their education while they are here in Bangladesh. I urge our partners and donors to stand by UNICEF as we deliver on our promise to provide education for every Rohingya refugee child.”Girls on their way to the learning centre in the Rohingya refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh on 9 July, 2023. Photo ©️UNICEF, Lateef

In addition to the new opportunities for older children, a dedicated campaign has brought more than 13,000 children who were out of school into the classroom. Efforts to support adolescent girls to continue their education are key to the record attendance this year. Due to social norms, parents are often reluctant to send girls to school once they reach puberty. In response, UNICEF and partners have worked closely with the refugee community to demonstrate to parents the benefits of education for girls, to provide girls-only classrooms, and to organize chaperoning to classes by female mentors.

Delivering education in the largest refugee settlement in the world is an immense operation. One million refugees – half of them children – have lived in the densely populated camps in Bangladesh since 2017 when they fled violence and persecution in neighbouring Myanmar. Education for Rohingya refugee children is provided through 3,400 learning centres – 2,800 of which are supported by UNICEF – as well as through community-based learning facilities.

On the first day of school in the camps, UNICEF appeals for US$33 million to urgently support education for Rohingya refugee children in the 2023/24 academic year.

Young and adolescent girls at the UNICEF-supported learning center during their English Language session. The girls-only session is being implemented under the Myanmar Curriculum Piloting (MCP) project since May 2022. The project is being supported by UNICEF Bangladesh & implemented by Mukti at Camp 2W, Ukhiya, Cox’s Bazar on 16 February 2023. Photo ©️ UNICEF, Kiron


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For more information please contact:

Kusali Nellie Kubwalo, UNICEF Bangladesh, Tel: +880 1847327230, [email protected]

Faria Selim, UNICEF Bangladesh, Tel: +880 181 758 6096, [email protected]

Joe English, UNICEF New York, +1 917 893 0692 [email protected]

Rohingya Struggle to Meet Their Nutritional Needs with Latest Food Ration Cuts

Rohingya Struggle to Meet Their Nutritional Needs with Latest Food Ration Cuts

By Syed Md Tafhim

Faced with a global funding shortage, the World Food Programme recently implemented a new round of food ration cuts for Rohingya refugees living in the world’s largest refugee camp.

Rukhsaira is currently limited to eating only cucumbers and fish twice a day along with her children. Photo © ISCG, Arjun Jain


The nutrition and health consequences stand to be devastating, particularly for women and children and the most vulnerable in the community.

Among those affected is 27-year-old Rukhsaira, who arrived from Burma (Myanmar). Her husband tragically passed away two years ago due to illness. Now, she is trying to raise her two children on her own. She said-

“Just six months ago, three meals per day were provided to us. Our plates were filled with a variety of nutritious options, including rice, bitter gourd, potato fry, eggs, sweet pumpkins, and ladies’ finger, accompanied by small fishes. Now we can only eat twice a day with my kids with only cucumbers and fish”

Due to a massive funding shortfall, drastic measures were taken. WFP was forced to cut the value of food vouchers for camp residents for the second time in three months at the beginning of June. From receiving $12 a month at the beginning of the year, refugees saw their rations cut to $10 in March, and now to just $8, or 27 cents a day.

With rations reduced, Rukhsaira and her children were left with only two meals each day. Their diet was now limited to cucumbers and fish, lacking the diverse range of nutrients they had previously enjoyed.

The consequences of these cuts have been severe. Previously, each person received approximately 2100 kilocalories (KCal) per day, ensuring sufficient intake for their well-being. However, the current ration provides less than 1700 KCal, exacerbating issues of malnutrition and hunger among the refugees.

The effects have been particularly pronounced among the most vulnerable individuals—children and the elderly. Their weakened immune systems have made them more susceptible to illnesses, resulting in prolonged struggles for recovery.

In addition to the physical challenges, the emotional toll on the refugee community has been substantial. Feelings of abandonment and insignificance have permeated throughout the camp as refugees face increasing anxiety and the reality of uncertain mealtimes. The burden weighs heavily on their minds, compounding the stress and anxiety already inherent in their displaced lives.

This photo illustrates the stark consequences of the Food Ration Cut. Rukhsaira’s family, who once enjoyed three meals a day with an intake of 2,100 Kcal, now struggle with less than 1,700 Kcal per person per day. Photo © ISCG

Despite these hardships, Rukhsaira considers herself relatively fortunate compared to others in the camp. As a single female head of household, she has been granted the opportunity to work in a Jute Production Centre, earning a modest income that helps meet the urgent needs of her family. Unfortunately, the vast majority of families lack this privilege, further exacerbating their precarious situation.

Rukhsaira, a single mother, finds employment through UNHCR-supported national NGO named NGO Forum, enabling her to purchase additional food from the market. Photo © ISCG


They continue to live in dire conditions, struggling to feed their children while witnessing the further deterioration of their already fragile health. Each day is a battle for survival, characterized by limited resources and an uncertain future.

Their hope now lies with the international community, as the United Nations and its partners fervently appeal for assistance and support to ensure that no one within the refugee camp goes hungry.


Media Contacts:

In Dhaka: Igor Sazonov, UN Resident Coordinator’s Office, [email protected], +8801321169633

In Cox’s Bazar: Syed Md Tafhim, Inter Sector Coordination Group, [email protected], +8801850018235 and Faik Uyanık, Inter Sector Coordination Group, [email protected], +8801847421667