3) SCHOOL OF HUMANITY.
School of Humanity concerns itself with the education for the displaced children. Children of culture are its bearers and its future, and in this case, are the most affected victims of genocide. USPF thus finds it necessary to educate children both culturally and formally. Cultural aspects include religious and language studies, while the formal front concentrates at providing the children a way to assimilate into the mainstream society by providing them knowledge in basic science, mathematics and communicative English, which is also provided to the youth.
Children, The Most Vulnerable
Children are among the most affected when a conflict, war or other crisis occurs. They tend to suffer emotionally and physically more than anyone else. These traumas often lead them to a disastrous future. The harsh environment often bends them into anti-social elements. Education is their key to a positive future. Education will ignite a light inside them which will help them live a life with dreams and hopes of a better tomorrow. According to 16 studies from 8 organizations covering 17 different emergencies (ranging from conflict to protracted crises and disasters) reflecting the voices of 8749 children, 99% of children in crisis situations see education as a priority. The parents consider the education of their children as a high priority after the essentials; food and livelihood. It is estimated that at least 28.5 million primary school-aged children living in conflict-affected countries without education3. 51% of the 19.5 million refugees worldwide are under 18 years old. It is very important for them to get a good education. A world with frustrated, uneducated and unemployed youth can be disastrous beyond our imagination. That makes their education a top priority for people like us who wants to live in a peaceful world.
Refugees in India
The refugee crisis is termed as the crisis of the century. India currently gives shelter to refugees from 21 countries in her land. India has no specific laws related to refugees nor has she signed the conventions regarding the same. This makes the state of refugees uncertain in this land. But India on reality has been very supportive and understanding of the issues of these people. It never adds injury to the injury he suffered. The refugees in India are given identity cards through the UNHCR office. Apart from all this, unlike Tibetans who were granted a zone, many refugees in India are spread randomly across the country. They have to live in inhumane conditions. They mostly have no access to a shelter, sanitation, health care, education etc. the do random jobs to keep their families alive. The organizations and others who claim to work for them are mostly hoaxers and their work is on the papers, not on the ground.
Education is the investment!
The refugees in India see education of their children with great importance. It is their investment for the future. Many of them had to leave their own countries leaving behind all their belongings to safety. Surviving all the odds against them they are battling forward to build a life here in the land which gave them refuge. But mind you, they dream of going back to their homelands!
“Don’t give your children weapons. Give them a pen and paper. Educate them. So they can go back to our land and take back what is rightfully ours”
The Rohingyas in India have reached here with a struggle which even the best of us can’t imagine. They had to see death and destruction before their eyes. The UN report on the crimes committed against Rohingyas put light on the important aspect of structural and institutional methods employed to put Rohingyas in the situation they are in today. Among them is the lack of education among the Rohingyas and how they are not at all represented in the government jobs and other powerful position. Dr.Mamun Rofique; an educated Rohingya who plays important role in the protection of his community in the Mewat region of Haryana in India while talking about the present condition of Rohingyas in Myanmar emphasized the importance of education as a form of investment in their future generation as well as a form of resistance to the oppressors.
He said “Don’t give your children weapons. Give them a pen and paper. Educate them. So they can go back to our land and take back what is rightfully ours”.
School of Humanity
School of humanity under Humanity center run by Ubais Sainulabdheen foundation of the Human rights activist Ubais Sainulabdheen, seeks to provide value-based basic education to the Refugees and internally displaced Indians. India has refugees from 21 countries India has refugees from 21 countries and also has internally displaced citizen who was victims of violence, hatred, riots, natural disasters etc. they are the people who are subject to almost cent percent human rights violation. Among them, there are a good number of children and youth who have witnessed/faced the ill effects of all those calamities. They have scars in their hearts which are deep and burning. By engaging them in some useful and enlightening activities we can slowly save them from the psychological jail they are trapped in their subconscious minds. Humanity center runs a school for these children which is called the ‘school of humanity’ and also makes selected youth enroll into skill training courses by paying for them so that they will gain employable skills. The youth programme envisions to make the youth competent to work in the UN at positions such as interpreters and also to make them capable resource persons in their community.
The vision and methods of the school of humanity strive to create a generation of responsible human beings with humanity as their core value. In a world where humanity is only for the namesake, we strive to create humans with humanity. Currently, the school of humanity across the camps adopted under the project focuses on providing the children basic education. They are given a foundation focusing on their character building, reading, writing etc. they are provided with a teacher who can teach them the basics in their own language. This account the importance of keeping their language alive and also understanding that the children are more familiar with the Rohingyan language other than the languages spoken here. Though the basic education is in their own language, Hindi and English are purposefully imbibed to make it part of their daily vocabulary as it is crucial to their survival in India as well as in the world. For their overall development, we involve them in sports and other artistic activities including outings. The class is given to them at regular intervals by a special teacher for their creative development. Along with the school, we also support the religious and cultural education of the children as desired by the community to preserve their heritage. They are being taught the Quran, Arabic, and Urdu by a local usthad from amongst them. Providing this support is essential for us so as to receive their trust and support.
One time meal
The plight of refugees is unimaginable to most of us. While we aspire for more and more their aspirations are chained by their empty stomachs. They struggle to earn for feeding their family at least once a day. This leads the parents to send their children to do-rag picking in the day time. The money these children earn out of picking bottles and stuff are used to provide a minimal living to their family. They are struggling to eat, how can they send their children to study? While talking to the refugees we could see that some families among them were even ready to starve a little if their children were provided education.
Considering all these we decided to provide a healthy meal to the children of the camps who attend the schools. This became a pull factor for the children to come regularly into the school of humanity in numbers. Now, these children are eating a healthy meal every day after finishing their school every working day.
Employing widows as cooks
For making the healthy ‘one-time meal’ for the students of the school of humanity we have hired three widows from within the refugee camp. They are given the duty to cook, clean and distribute the food on the working days. This employment has given them an opportunity to stand on their feet and has made their lives active.
Putting together a project may be very easy. But the effective running of it is very difficult. The ideal plan that we frame in our minds is often straight-lined. The actual making and working of the projects are accompanied by the weird ground realities embedded in a confusing intertwined path. For the effective running, we need effective structural setup as well as regular supervision.
We have staffs employed for the project including a teacher for basic education, a teacher for religious and cultural education, three cooks, a project supervisor, a local project coordinator. This team runs the project with absolute dedication.
Both teachers are given the duty to send attendance daily to the project supervisor. The teachers have to regularly send photos and videos of the activities to the supervisor. The supervisor sends it to our team directly. The local project coordinator does frequent visits and monitors the accounts. The project supervisor does one or two monthly visits for a minimum to check on the projects. Often these visits are random and surprise visits.
Without adequate funds, no project can run for long. In our project, the monthly expenses include:
the salary of the teachers and staff
school kits, Morning snack, one-time meal expenses for the children
supervision travel charges and other miscellaneous expenses
All this cost us an amount of 1,000 INR per child in each of the units we run.