Rizoan Alam and Sahana Akter, two siblings from the Rohingya community in Carlow have received places to study medicine at University College Cork (UCC).​ Both will begin the five-year medicine MB,BCh,BAO (Hons) at the same medical school next month.

Rizoan and Sahana have completed their Leaving Certificate with excellent results at St. Mary’s Academic CBS and St. Leo’s College Carlow respectively.

It is the cultivation of their hardwork, dedication and discipline, and supports of their parents – Sayed Alam and Hosena Begum, and their grandmother Rabia.

Rizoan and Sahana’s journey has been extraordinary and inspiring.

Both Rizoan and Sahana were born in Nayapara Registered Refugee Camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh after their parents were forced to flee the genocidal campaign in 1992.

The siblings were resettled along with their family in Carlow under the Irish government Refugee Resettlement Programme in 2009.

Rizoan was four and half years old, while Sahana was three when they came to Carlow.

They have begun their primary education in Carlow and consistently excelled in primary and secondary schools. Like their elder siblings who had no formal education in the refugee camp, Rizoan and Sahana have entered the primary education with the language and many barriers which have been brought down with their hard work and supports received from teachers and schools.

Their eldest brother Sufiat Alam is graduating with Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) in Civil Engineering from SETU Carlow (South East Technology University) next month and their second elder brother Robi Alam is also in the final year at the School of Architecture, Building and Environment, TUD (Technological University Dublin).

Their successful journey in pursuit of higher education in Ireland is an example for Rohingya boys and girls around the world. When opportunities are provided, children from refugee camps can truly excel and dream big.

Besides the supports of their parents and the Rohingya community, the compassion and solidarity of Irish people has rekindled their dreams to rebuild a better and dignified future in their new home – Ireland.

Rohingya Action Ireland sends Rizoan and Sahana the deserving congratulations for the extraordinary journey to the prestigious Irish medical school and wishes success and happiness in the school and life.

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