The UNHCR on Monday opened a Bengali language class for Burmese urban refugees in Cox’s Bazar, a sea resort town in southern Bangladesh.
But none of the refugees are able to attend the class because they are simply struggling for their daily survival, said Khaing Pray Thein, a Burmese urban refugee sheltering in Cox’s Bazar.
“As we are refugees sheltering in Bangladesh, the Bengali language is necessary for all of us, and everyone is interested in learning the local language. But no one is able to attend the class because they have to struggle for their daily subsistence as the UNHCR is not providing any support for their daily food and travel during the training period,” he said.
The language class is being held in U Korsalla Vidya Bihar primary school in Cox’s Bazar, and is being implemented by the local NGO Resource Integration Center for the UNHCR. The training will be given to the refugees for two hours a day from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm, every day except Friday, for three months.
Sangita Barua, the teacher who was appointed by RIC, said, “I can not start my training yet as no one is coming to attend the class. It seems that my trainees may have some difficulties for their studies. I will consult with my organization about the situation as soon as possible.”
According to Khaing Pray Thein, there are nearly 300 Burmese urban refugees that have been recognized by the UNHCR in Bangladesh.
He said that most of the refugees are currently sheltering in remote villages in Cox’s Bazar and Bandarban District in southern Bangladesh and are extremely vulnerable because they have been neglected by the UNHCR and other organizations in regards to their legal protection and aid for food and shelter.