By The Rohingya Post
Having born and brought up in a Bangladesh refugee camp, her dream was crushed by the expulsion from the university after AP News interview exposed her Rohingya identity
“Khushi is an asset for both Bangladeshi and Rohingya communities. As a refugee, she has suffered so much, and yet she is persistent in following her dream. She has been contributing towards the host society a lot. And she also doesn’t forget her ethnicity and persecutions. The denial of her university education is a great injustice. The government and the public should pave the path for education to refugees like her. She is a bridge for both communities. It seems the bridge being destroyed, along with her dream”
Rahima Akter Khushi is a 20-year-old Rohingya refugee girl born in Kutupalong Refugee Camp, Bangladesh after her parents fled Myanmar Military Junta’s atrocities in 1992.
She is among 34,000 registered refugee who are protected under UNHCR and granted the legal refugee status unlike over 750,000 Rohingya fled into Bangladesh since August 2017.
She was brought up in the camp without formal education that is being provided to most Rohingya refugee children inside camps.
Since the government of Bangladesh prohibits Rohingya from receiving formal education inside and outside the camps, many Rohingya students hide their identity to enrol in private and public schools and colleges beyond the boundaries of camps.
Ms. Khushi has managed to complete her secondary and high schools with excellent results. She was accepted at Cox’s Bazar International University (CBIU) to read her LLB at the Department of Law where she was in her second semester of the first year.
After her interview with AP News went public highlighting the dream being as Rohingya refugee girl, the Academic Council of CBIU has taken decision to immediately expel her from the university on September 6, 2019.
After the interview went viral which many people from all over the world praised her wisdom and dream to pursue education to empower herself and others, many right-wing Bangladeshi media outlets and activists have campaigned to disallow her from pursuing her dream, coupled with the government’s stance on the prohibition of formal education for Rohingya refugees.
After the government has sent notice to many schools in Cox’s Bazar district to “take strict measures so that no Rohingya children can attend any Bangladeshi educational institutions outside of the camps”, six schools have expelled all Rohingya students in January and February, 2019.
Before and after the expulsion from CBIU university, Ms. Khushi has received threats including death-threats on social media in Bangladesh.
On July 4, 2019, she escaped from an attempted kidnapping resulting in injuries, for which she was treated at Fouad Al-Khateeb Hospital in Cox’s Bazar.
She now went into hiding, and family relatives have reported that she is suffering from mental health issues threatening of taking her own life.
Despite being born in difficult situations in the camp, Ms. Khushi is an inspiring young girl with full potentials for both Bangladeshi and Rohingya communities.
She is involved in several social and educational campaigns and activities in the host community to empower Bangladeshi girls and women, educate children, equip with the community with IT skills, and strive for the rights of Rohingya refugees.
She also serves as executive member at Marquee Foundation, financial secretary at Prothom Alo Bndushova, Chief Executive Officer at Divas – a female empowerment organisation, director and founder of Women Learning Centre and the first female assistant computer trainer at Poura Preparatory ICT Computer Training Centre.
“Khushi is an asset for both Bangladeshi and Rohingya communities. As a refugee, she has suffered so much, and yet she is persistent in following her dream. She has been contributing towards the host society a lot. And she also doesn’t forget her ethnicity and persecutions.
“The denial of her university education is a great injustice. The government and the public should pave the path for education to refugees like her. She is a bridge for both communities. It seems the bridge being destroyed, along with her dream,” said a colleague of hers under the anonymity.
In October 14, 2018, Ms. Khushi told AP News, “There is no end in my dream. I have a lot of dreams.”
For the moment, her dream is being shattered.
Rahima Akter Khushi’s Interview with AP News