KUALA LUMPUR: According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Malaysia website, as of last month, there are some 150,460 refugees and asylum seekers registered in Malaysia, with Rohingya making up 40,070 refugees.
Rohingya, a Muslim ethnic minority based mainly in the Arakan region of Myanmar, are said to be subjected to ethnic and religious persecution in the country.
They are also said to be not recognised as citizens by their own government and these “stateless” immigrants flee the country because of discrimination and safety fears.
In Malaysia, the Rohingyas have been seeking refuge here since the 80s with others ending up, mainly in Bangladesh and Thailand.
They have no access to legal employment. However, they are able to access healthcare facilities but most cannot afford the cost.
Refugee children do not have access to formal education but the UNCHR, NGOs or refugee community themselves run classes.
It is through these schools that the refugee children learn basic reading, writing, mathematics and social skills.
As for adult refugees, UNHCR has been assisting the community with development activities like nurturing leadership, youth activities, adult learning, livelihood and skills building.