By Jamalida Rafique | St. Leo’s College, Carlow, Ireland
January 9, 2021

In the darkness lies a soul
Suffocating as a whole.
In the darkness lies a heart
With loved ones being torn apart.
In the darkness lies a child,
With no world to reconcile
With no light to ignite,
And with no window to sight –
The colourful world,
Through the magical words.

They say “Magic falls out when you open a book.”
Yet they create nightmares and horrors to look.
They say “Books are like a home.”
Yet they destroy a place that I call home.
They say “Education is future.”
Yet they deny my future.
They say “A book is a window to the world.”
Yet they deny a window to my world.
They say “You are the window to the world.”
Yet they hide me from my world.

A child’s future is not toy, but book –
The window to the world to breathe and look.
A refugee child’s dream is to travel
Through the books to be acceptable,
Not to be confined to the windowless refugee shed,
In the darkness and hopelessness the life sees its dead.

The ability to read is a child’s greatest joy.
A book is the child’s true toy.
The book that opens the window to the world.
The book that allows the light to enter from the magical worlds.
The book that finds the lost soul.
The child that the book makes whole.


The poem is dedicated to hundreds of thousands of Rohingya children who are denied access to education in refugee camps in Bangladesh and millions of refugee children across the world. Education is every child’s dream, every child’s rights.

The poet was born in Kutupalong Refugee Camp in 2008. She was resettled along with her parents in Ireland at the age of just eight months. She is in her first year of secondary school at St. Leo’s College. She has visited the refugee camp where she was born and witnessed the first-hand experience of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya children fled into Bangladesh during the mass exodus in 2017 and seen Rohingya children without education.

Jamalida Rafique has met and sent letter to Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees on the importance of Rohingya children education. She continues to raise voices on the children education.