Ameerah’s Take – Learning from Rohingya Muslims in Bradford


In late November when Kanbar Hossein-Bor visited schools in Bradford to talk about his role as British diplomat and his involvement in humanitarian work as highlighted by the Britain Helps campaign, sixth form students from Grange Technology College in Bradford were particularly inspired by his story. As a child he was a refugee and came to the UK where he attended school, studied law and went on to  work for the British Diplomatic Service.

Britain helps is a cross government initiative run by the Home Office, the Department for Education and the Department for International Development. The campaign works to spread awareness of the humanitarian aid Britain delivers overseas, including the work to fund charities and UN programmes in delivering aid abroad in places of conflict. The Britain Helps campaign launched a competition for school students nationally. The task for the competition was to work on a project sharing the humanitarian work Britain does in a particular country.

Eager to get on board, a group of 11 Bradford sixth formers got together to focus on a current conflict particularly close to them: The situation for the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

Interestingly, one of the students working on the campaign was himself a Rohingya Muslim. This brought a great insight to the plight of the Rohingya’s, as well as a poignant sense of reality to the diversity of lived experience that exists in Bradford and should be understood and celebrated.

The students and their teacher, Sarabjit Gill, met every Wednesday for several weeks with Azam and I from the Linking Network team to plan ideas for their project.

Bradford hosts the biggest community of the Rohingya ethnic group in Europe. For this reason, the students knew from the start that they wanted to include real life experiences and testimonies in their work. To do this the students made contact with members of the British Rohingya community, who arranged to come into Grange and be interviewed for the project.

From the British Rohingya community came Nur Huda, Asima Khatun and Nijam Uddin. The interview was incredibly moving and inspiring, especially as Asima spoke about how the UK had impacted her life through the opportunities it has given her children. She spoke of how she can now ‘send my daughters and my sons to school and they can get there full education compared to Burma where they couldn’t’, adding that what she is most appreciative for is that her children ‘can get a full education and grow up to be something that I did not get a chance to be.’

After this, it was time for the students to put together an exhibition that they would launch in an assembly to their year group, and then place on wider display for all year groups to see.

Together, the students presented an amazing assembly which movingly addressed the plight of the Rohingya Muslims and the work Britain does to help them, overseas and in the UK.

The hard work they put into planning really paid off as students in the audience listened with intent to the stories shared as well as the facts on the ground for the Rohingya at the moment.

It was great to see the Telegraph and Argus at the school, who photographed the students and published an article on their website, which is linked at the bottom of this page.

A special thank you to Sirazul Islam, Shabnum Akhtar, Laiba Inam, Munibah Qureshi, Ramlah Qureshi, Svera Akbar, Suleman Satti, Saqib Iqbal, Klaudia Struzik, Mehreen Bibi and Isha Shakeel. From all of us at the Linking Network, we are honoured to have worked with you #grangers on your amazing Britain Helps project. Thank you for your dedication and hard work!