Photo - REC

Kyaw Thu Htay | DMG

22 October, Sittwe

The government should provide educational stipends for the Arakanese refugee students who are in distance education programs, said Ko Zaw Zaw Tun, secretary of Rakhine Ethnic Congress (REC).

The REC, a Sittwe-based civil society group that is carrying out rescue work and disseminating information about the refugees, provided stipends for some distance university students from the IDP camps on 22 October.

“We don’t actually have a plan to grant them educational stipends. We can give them as much as we can afford to fulfill their urgent needs. The government should have a plan to provide financial aid for their education. Then, it will be more convenient for the students,” said Ko Zaw Zaw Tun.

Ma Oo San Nwe, a student who was provided a stipend from the REC, said that it is difficult for her to attend distance university because she lacks finances. She is currently staying at a refugee camp and cannot do any farming to raise money.

“Our village is near the forests and mountains. I can’t live in our village because landmines explode frequently on roads due to fighting occurring in the forests and mountains. So, I have to flee to a safe place. I’ve faced financial difficulties because I can’t work. Now, things are a little bit better due to the financial aid provided by the REC,” said Ma Oo San Nwe who is sheltering at the refugee camp in Buu Ywek Ma Nyo village of Mrauk-U Township.

The REC has planned to provide 47 refugee students, it provided for 20 students who are majoring in Myanmar and History subjects first.

Each student was given K40,000 for food, K10,000 for transportation and K20,000 for general expenses as well as free tuition and accommodations.

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