Once a prosperous Rakhine community in Bangladesh is now struggling for survival. Poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, broken-economic-backbone etc. are the main impediments to the progress and prosperity of Rakhine society. Of these, illiteracy plays a crucial role in drowning in our community.
Rakhines in Bangladesh are scattered in three districts viz. Cox’s Bazar, Patuakhali and Barguna, out of 64 districts in Bangladesh. Rakhines in three districts of Chittagong Hill Tracts identify themselves as Marma.
Rakhine population in Bangladesh is estimated around one hundred thousand. Of them, about 10 percent are literates and more than 80 percent are living from hand to mouth.
Our people are living in rural and off-shore villages. They engage insmall businesses with limited income. Those living along riverside are involved in fishing for livelihood and are affected by natural calamities every year, which sometimes snatched away their lives and belongings.
To come out from this prevailing situation, utmost priority must be given to education - education for all Rakhines. Education will make our people fittest to fight for our sustainability in Bangladesh. But poverty-stricken families cannot afford educational expenses and school charges for their children.
Primary education is free in Bangladesh. The government is supplyingtextbooks free to students from class VI to X, but annual, tuition andexamination fees need to be paid by the students. Impoverished students failing to pay monthly tuition fees regularly tend to dropout in midyear.
With a view to slashing the dropout and retaining them in schools, the Rakhine students’ Education Fund (RSEFund) has been extending financial support to poor students since its inception in 2006. TheRSEFund is supported by a few contributors who deposited 50,000 takaeach for a three-year. A contributor can withdraw his/her money after three years or contributes for another three years and so on. We buy certificates for three years. The interest we get from the certificates for a year is distributed among poor students.
We have limited contributors. The more we have contributors, the more interest-money will come. And we can help more students. We welcome every one to join us and any contribution to the Fund. We would urge all to help our students in their pursuing of education.
The RSEFund has a plan to establish a hostel at Dhaka with a view toimparting qualified education to probable students. Limited number of poor but meritorious students from rural areas will be brought to thehostel and get them admitted in good schools. These students will be properly guided and be provided with all facilities available in the hostel.
We are thinking of building a monastery in Dhaka. A piece of land is to bebought in Dhaka with the availability of fund. A land of 15 decimal will bean ideal premise for the monastery and the hostel. Rakhine community in Bangladesh and around the world will extend active support to this noble initiative.
A 5-storey building will be designed for the monastery and constructed step by step. The hostel will be housed in the building. It will have anauditorium, a Dhamma Room and a library.
It is worth mentioning that there are five monasteries in Dhaka. Three monasteries belong to Barua community while one each to Marma and Chakma. These monasteries perform religious functions and work for welfare of their communities as well.
The monastery will serve as a centre for religious and socio- cultural activities of Rakhine community. It will facilitate to teach Rakhine language and literature to the students. The fact is that many of us cannot read and write our alphabets - Rakhine.
The monastery will provide temporary shelter to students coming toDhaka for admission in universities and colleges, job seekers andpatients looking for better treatment at Dhaka.
Education must be given preference for development of our community and elimination of poverty from our society. Well-off Rakhines should extend supporting hands to all efforts aimed at building a society of excellent Rakhines.
More>>> Rakhine Students' Education Fund http://rsefund.blogspot.com/