South Downs Water helps Children on the Edge create safe spaces for Rohingya refugee children
Children on the Edge has been working for more than seven years in Kutapalong camp providing low-profile education for Rohingya refugee children. Following a horrifying escalation in violence last summer in Myanmar hundreds of thousands of Rohingya families have been driven out of Myanmar arriving into refugee camps in Bangladesh. Children on the Edge has been significantly increasing their work in the camp in the last few months; providing food parcels, solar lamps and latrines for more than 5,000 families.
In addition their established classrooms in Kutupalong, have been put to good use - doubling up as safe spaces in the afternoons for up to 2,250 newly arrived Rohingya children each day.
The children talk of skipping, games, singing and how kind their teachers are. They are focused on the songs they have learned, who is winning the games, and what they have drawn, rather than what they have been through.
Sofaya is seven years old, she says “I like when my teacher plays games with us. She is fun to play with. She makes me feel better when I am sad. I like to skip rope. I learned to jump rope at the centre. It’s a very fun way to spend time. My teacher even tries to jump rope too sometimes!”
Teachers in camps are Rohingya refugees themselves and have been trained over the years how to support children with trauma, and how to make the space child friendly, welcoming and fun.
Rather than addressing trauma directly, teachers create a safe environment where children can forget where they are and what they have been through. Ayasha has been teaching for a few years and says “As the teacher we need to show them a smile every day. This will make the centre feel like a happy place for them. And then they want to come back again the next day”.