IBBY-Yamada 2013: Malaysia

Literacy centers for Rohingya stateless children in Malaysia

Sectarian violence in Myanmar has sent Rohingya refugees fleeing across the border for many years and some managed to escape to Malaysia, where, currently there are around 12,000 Rohingyas with refugee status. As stateless people and refugees they are denied many basic rights, including education.

Several NGOs have offered assistance to the Rohingya community, including building primary schools. Malaysia IBBY (MBBY) will provide a basic library for each of two new schools that have been built by the NGO, Rohingya Education Centre (REC) with UNHCR sponsorship. The schools are in Selangor and Penang. Despite severe space constraints at both schools, rooms were found for the libraries and books in Malay, English and Arabic were donated from publishers and individuals. In total, about 500 books were collected, of which 300 were donated to Selangor and 200 to Penang. There is a particular need for simpler Malay books.

In addition to providing the library books, MBBY will provide training to catalogue and arrange the books as well as train volunteers in book reading and storytelling.