Jamalida Rafique, an active member of young generation of Rohingya community in Ireland, met the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi at Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission. She shared her personal journey for education, and urged the commissioner to do more for the rights of refugees, particularly children and their education.
She has written a letter along with the drawing on transformation of hopelessness to hopefulness. The letter was handed over to Filippo Grandi who was accompanied by Emily Logan, Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission.
Filippo Grandi made her promise to read the letter “slowly and carefully” and praised her wisdom for her words on hope.
The letter can be read in the following:
I am Jamalida Rafique. I am eleven years old Rohingya girl. I am writing to tell you about my new life.
My family fled Myanmar. I was born in Kutupalong refugee camp. I came to Ireland when I was 8 months old. My grandmothers, uncles, aunties and cousins are still in the camp.
There are also hundreds of thousands of Rohingya children still in camps.
They have nowhere to go. They have no place to call home. They have no proper clothes on their bodies. They have no shoes under their feet. They have no books to read. They have no schools to go.
My dad took me to the camp in 2017 and 2018. He wanted me to see children fleeing. He wanted me to see children suffering. He wanted me to appreciate my new life.
I am now a proud Irish citizen. I have so many Irish friends. I have so many good Irish neighbours. I have so many good teachers. I have so many books to read. I have an education. I have a hope.
I wish the same for Rohingya refugee children and many around the world. You have seen their suffering with your own eyes. I have seen them with my own eyes. You have seen their new lives with your own eyes. I am the witness of that new life. I am born again with hope.
You have a voice to speak for them. You have the power for change. You can bring hope to children without a home and a hope.
Please stand up for their education, the way many people have stood up for mine. Please give them a new chance, the way I was given for my new life.
All children need education like me. All children need hope. All children need a future.
A proud Irish Rohingya