By Hichael Rashid, Rohingya Community Ireland
Carlow: Finding a home for people who have spent their whole lives in limbo is harder than finding a needle in a hay-stack. The Rohingya community of Ireland has found a place they can proudly call home in Carlow.
The community has had a long rough journey of around 8,000 km from squalid refugee camps in Bangladesh, having spent more than 17 years when they were forced from their ancestral home in the western part of Burma (also known as Myanmar) for embracing difference in culture, colour and religion than the rest of Burmese societies.
It is just recently that the plight of Rohingya was brought to the world’s attention after the Burmese Government launched another campaign of extermination of the population of Rohingya in Arakan State, where they have lived for centuries in peace and harmony enjoying all the human rights a native would and should deserve.
Resettled in Ireland, mostly in County Carlow under the refugee resettlement programme initiated and coordinated by the Government of Ireland and UNHCR in 2009, the community has found a home in Carlow where they can exercise their rights which they have lost in Burma through institutionalize discriminatory policies against Rohingya, and have never experienced the basic human rights in the refugee camps they were forced to live.
Some must-have requirements to call ‘home’ are all found in Carlow where Rohingya community experience and enjoy the basic necessities, peace of mind and tranquillity, security as well as kind and caring neighbours, amidst the loving and colourful people of Carlow.
Carlow is the living Aorta for the Rohingya community to adapt, flourish and integrate into this multicultural and diversified county which has a vision of bringing cultural richness together as was witnessed in ‘Celebration of Diversity’ organized by Carlow Integration Forum on 26th September 2015.
Recently (November 18) at Woodford Dolmen Hotel Carlow, the Rohingya community marked Rohingya Refugee Memorial day for the loss of lives in the forceful repatriations of Rohingya refugees to Burma, with video documentaries of the Memorial Day, and the changes and developments of the community in their new found home.
The attendance of so many members such as the Carlow Integration Forum, St. Catherine’s Community Centre, representative of An Garda Siochana, local councillors and supportive friends and neighbours moved and further prompted the Rohingya community to love and admire their new home in Carlow and Ireland now more than ever.
The support from so many as well as various grass-root communities have played a decisive and crucial role in helping the Rohingya community rebuild and resettle in their proud home.
Rohingya children now can enjoy their freedom, see their future, integrate into the colourful and diverse Irish society, love and feel secure, a privilege denied to the families who still remain stateless in Burma.