As students across Ireland mark the end of their secondary school years, four Rohingya students celebrate their remarkable journey from being born in refugee camps to completing their secondary schools in excellent forms.

The students were between the ages of four and six when they were resettled in Carlow and Dublin in 2009. All of them were born in Kutupalong and Nayapara refugee camps, Bangladesh where their parents have taken refuge after being forced to flee the Myanmar’s genocidal campaign in 1991-2.

They, along with older students who had no formal education in the refugee camps, were welcome in Carlow and Dublin by the Irish society and assisted by volunteers, teachers and fellow students in their new school environments and systems.

The 2022 Leaving Cert (Leaving Certificate Examination) graduates are the sixth batch of Rohingya students ready to enrol in colleges and universities following the resettlement programme in 2009.

Rasna Begum, born in Kutupalong Refugee Camp, was six when she arrived in Carlow with her parents and two elder brothers. On May 24, she successfully completed her Leaving Cert at St. Leo’s College, Carlow.

Rasna has been an integral force and asset of the Rohingya community in Carlow. She has taken part and contributed in every event that the community organised. Her energy, humour and vision acts as one of the driving forces for the community.

St. Mary’s Academy CBS Carlow also saw two Rohingya students finishing the Leaving Cert on May 23. Saiful Islam and Rizoan Alam were four and five respectively at the time of the resettlement. Rizoan was born in Nayapara Refugee Camp while Saiful Islam in Kutupalong Refugee Camp. There were easily integrated into the Irish school system based on their ages.

It is their dedication and hard-work along with their sporting excellence in cricket and football and engagement in the community, which is highly remarkable.

Jahangir Alam, based in the capital, completed the Leaving Cert at Moyle Park College, Clondalkin, Dublin on May 25.

Jahangir who was born in Kutupalong Refugee Camp, has arrived in Dublin at the age of four. His family was resettled in Dublin instead of Carlow due to the medical conditions that his youngest brother suffers. Despite around a hundred kilometres away from the majority of the resettled Rohingya community, Jahangir’s parents place education as the main priority for their children. His dedication, self-discipline and industrious personality has produced a fine-tuned youngster in Jahangir Alam.

Rohingya Action Ireland congratulates and acknowledges the challenges that children faced in their initial stages of education in their new home. They have broken all the barriers – language, cultural, social and traumatic. It is a moment to celebrate their remarkable journey – a journey that inspires generations of Rohingya children.

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