Refugees are not legally permitted to attend public school in Malaysia.
Our charity formed in 2005, when university students from Myanmar found Chin children wandering the streets of Kuala Lumpur. When no one else would help, the students took it upon themselves to teach the kids.
Today, over 500 enthusiastic pupils fill our classrooms across our five learning centres. Our team of 30+ volunteers are working hard to preserve kids’ learning skills and protect them from negative influences.
The Chin live in the highlands of western Myanmar, near the Indian border. Believed to be of Mongolian descent, they made their way to Burma after journeying through China. There are many tribes within Chin society, each with their own dialects and special cultural traditions.
The Chin State has the highest rate of poverty in Myanmar. Chin are subjected to religious suppression, forced labour, and human rights violations. Many flee their home. There are 42,710 Chin living in Malaysia.
As refugees in Malaysia, they wait to be relocated to western countries – sometimes up to five years. Approximately 8,000 Chin refugees are resettled each year. 85 per cent go to the US, 7 per cent to Australia, while the remainder resettle to Norway, New Zealand, Canada and the United Kingdom.
Imagine living in a tiny apartment with twenty other people. You sleep on the floor because you don’t have a bed and you share your room with ten others. Your father doesn’t live at home. He’s moved to a farm on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur to perform manual labour in return for food. This is reality for many of our students.
Without enough money to get by, our Chin teachers and older pupils are under constant pressure to leave school in hope of finding paid work. We struggle to retain teenagers in our learning centres – and education is crucial at this stage of their development.
Most refugees can’t get paid work in Malaysia. However, there are some employers who take on refugees if they are registered with the UNHCR and have a UNHCR card.
Malaysia’s modern economy, robust public institutions, and humanitarian leadership has made it a safe and attractive destination for refugees from many countries – not just Myanmar.
People moving irregularly into and through Malaysia creates many challenges. The approximately 150,700 refugees and asylum-seekers within the country are fortunate to have Malaysia’s continued commitment to their well-being.
While the Malaysian government is supportive of refugees, there are currently no legislative or administrative provisions in place to deal with asylum-seekers or refugees in Malaysia. As such, the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) documents, registers, and determines the status of asylum-seekers and refugees that enter the country. The government cooperates strongly with the UNHCR. You can read more about this process on the UNHCR website.
We enhance kids’ learning skills and prepare them for the educational demands of new countries.
We teach students about their Chin heritage including literature, customs, song and dance.
We shelter kids from negative outside influences. We teach them life skills and give moral guidance.