Jipara's story

May 25, 2018

The Fragile Seven Series

Seven examples of countries in crisis. Seven girls, coming of age amidst unthinkable circumstances. They share a common courage, in the face of danger and deprivation. And they share something else: an urgent need for education. For all vulnerable children – especially, girls – education offers a lifeline to safety for today and hope for the future tomorrow. 

Part 4. Jipara, Myanmar

When Jipara, 14, fled from the violence in Myanmar to neighbouring Bangladesh, she brought just three things: herself, her gift of teaching and her dream of learning.

“I dream of being educated like you,” she told a World Vision aid worker recently.

Poignant words from a young girl living in a refugee camp with no access to formal schooling.

We have seen what happens to girls’ futures when education is denied. In Myanmar, Jipara and many Rohingya children were persecuted and forbidden to attend school. Now in the camps, formal education is still denied to them. Every day, they fall further behind in their studies. Girls are especially excluded. A few, like Jipara, come to World Vision’s child-friendly spaces—safe, fun places for children to play and learn together. 

Jipara isn’t waiting to do what she loves—teaching. She shares all she has to offer with younger children in one of the child-friendly spaces.

“I teach the children poems,” she says. “I teach the ABCs. Sometimes I sing for them.” Healing music for young ears still ringing with the sounds of war.

Jipara plays with some of the other children who attend the child friendly spaces at the refugee camp in Bangladesh.

“Back home I used to teach children in my school, too,” she says. “I dream of being educated, but I have no chance here. I dream of teaching children.”

Imagine what Jipara could do with a high school or university education. Today she teaches informally in a tent in a crowded camp that is home to almost 1 million refugees—more than half of them children. Most of her pupils come hungry. Many suffer illnesses. Some are even showing signs of psycho-social stress following their harrowing flight from Myanmar. 

“I want to teach our community’s children, to educate them,” says Jipara, her voice strong and confident. Despite the horror life has handed her, that dream is still intact.

Jipara sits in her hand-built tarpaulin and bamboo shelter at the refugee camp with her family.

What could Canada do for Jipara and her community to help bring that dream to life?

Does Jipara’s story speak to you? Then speak up! As the G7 Summit approaches, let the government of Canada know that you want them to invest in education for girls in crises by signing our petition so that all girls have the chance to shape their own futures.