Fleeing war-torn nations for a chance to go to school

  • Nation
  • Monday, 20 Nov 2017

Mohd Alam Hussein,14, at the Walk4Humanity Charity Run in Uniten yesterday.Rohaizat Md Darus/Star.

KAJANG: From braving turbulent seas alone to escaping war-torn countries at a young age, this group of underprivileged children overcame one obstacle after another for a better life and access to education.

Mohd Alam Hussein was only 10 years old when he escaped Myan­mar’s Rakhine State on his own four years ago.

The Rohingya boy travelled to Bangladesh by boat, where he boarded a ship bound for Thailand.

Alone and frightened, Mohd Alam was at sea for a month before reaching Thailand. Three days later, he finally arrived in Penang and was reunited with his family after three long months of being apart.

Now 14, Mohd Alam said surviving the dangerous journey from Myanmar to Malaysia meant that he would, finally, be able to get a formal education.

“I was scared coming here on my own but when I finally reached Malaysia, I was so happy.

“I love Malaysia because I get to do what I want here like going to school,” he said.

The teenager currently attends Madrasah Muiinulislam in Meru, Klang, where his family resides.

Mohd Alam was among 200 underprivileged children celebrated by Humanitarian Care Malaysia (MyCare) at Universiti Tenaga Nasional (Uniten) yesterday.

MyCARE, through its agency Rose2Rose, collaborated with Uni­ten to organise the Walk4Humanity Charity Run, aimed at raising funds for children’s education and women empowerment projects.

The event was also held to celebrate underprivileged youngsters in conjunction with World Child­ren’s Day.

Among those celebrated at the event yesterday was 10-year-old Farah Ziad Shehada, who at the tender age of five left Gaza, in the Palestinian territories, with her family to Malaysia.

Farah, who attends the Interna­tional Modern Arabic School in Putrajaya, said her wish for World Children’s Day was for every child to be able to do what they want.

“But even if I want to do EVERY­THING, I can’t! I’m busy study­ing in school every day.

“I want to be a doctor when I grow up,” said the precocious girl.

Unfortunately, some children are not as lucky as Mohd Alam and Farah when it comes to getting the opportunity to study.

Currently living in the streets of Chow Kit with her mother and three brothers, local girl Balqis Qaisara’s only wish for World Children’s Day was for a chance at an education.

“I promise to work hard if I can go to school,” said the shy nine-year-old.

Balqis’ Kelantanese-born mother, who declined to be named, had tears in her eyes as she listened to her daughter’s wish.

“They were so excited to come here, they couldn’t sleep the night before.

“What we need most is financial aid, so my children can go to school, and we can rent a room,” she said.

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