AN EDUCATIONAL SPACE ESTABLISHED BY THE REFUGEE COMMUNITY IN INDONESIA
As refugees in Indonesia we don’t have access to the most basic human rights. We are not allowed to study or work. We established the Refugee Learning Center (RLC) in 2015 to acknowledge our rights, and in doing so, provide our students and teachers with a sense of purpose and hope.
We began with 35 students and 7 teachers. Over the past six years, the number of students has grown significantly. Today, we teach over 300 students. Our team has grown too, we now have 22 teachers, 6 management members and 2 parent representatives: all refugee volunteers. The RLC volunteers are all refugees from different countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran.
We are a non-denominational learning centre, open to all refugees in Indonesia. Education plays a vital role in refugees’ ability to cope with prolonged displacement. Recently, the UNHCR has informed refugees that the resettlement process may take up to 20 years, although even after this time resettlement is not guaranteed. This makes our center and its activities even more crucial to the children living in limbo in Indonesia. For the children in our community, the RLC not only provides education, but important socialisation and a sense of normalcy.
Aside from the children, the Refugee Learning Center also provides an opportunity for the volunteers to develop and improve their personal skills. Through workshops and various trainings, most of the teachers and management members have gained life-changing experiences.
“Refugee Learning Center (RLC) is not only a place where we come to teach and the students come to learn. It is more than that. It is like our second home and all the people involved in RLC are like a family.”
We achieve all this by constantly striving to achieve the four main goals of the RLC:
Providing education for refugees and preparing them for their future society.
Facilitating communication and cooperation between diverse groups of people and cultures.
Providing meaningful engagement for the refugee community.
Developing the capacities of refugee volunteers.
The RLC operates on a wholly volunteer basis and is dependent on donations to cover operational costs. We are grateful to our friends and supporters all over the world who help us to help others cope and hope in limbo.