Colourof Hope Main

What colour is hope?

A rainbow, a blue sky?

What colour is your hope?

I found myself on a long-anticipated journey in 2019, an American-Bengali high school girl heading for the refugee settlement of Cox’s Bazar.

I wanted to find out, who are the Rohingya? What world do they live in? And what does it mean to give safety and hope to 1.3 million survivors of a genocide?

The sun rises above us as we near the location of a school within the camp. Vibrant singing drifts through the air from a red and yellow bamboo structure. The two-story learning centre looks a bit like a treehouse.

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The vibrancy of the space is hopeful

Boys and girls come in three shifts during the day, and vary in age from 4 to 12. They are engaged and curious, their smiles the warmest thing I have ever seen. The classroom is decked in their own crafts and drawings, and the vibrancy of the space is hopeful. A single chalkboard is a powerful tool, one that can transcend student’s disadvantages and provide them the knowledge to understand the world they will one day lead.

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I wish I could stay and tell them so many things. That they can dream of rainbow-colored hope. Rainbows herald calm after hardship, a beacon that flies high on the horizon.

Despite the persecution and violence their parents experienced and the trauma they all are burdened with, these children’s eyes shine in this sanctuary. The learning centre offers safety and an opportunity for growth. The teachers and the organisers are truly inspiring.

Returning back home, my classmates were curious about what I had seen. I told them I had seen hope, and that they had helped to give some of it. I told them I had seen the kind of cooperation and vision that the modern world often tells us is impossible to achieve. I showed them pictures of children holding kites and untying bags filled with the toys my classmates gave, and told them that the future looked like this.

Based on a report from Raneem Iftekhar, a high schooler of Bengali heritage from Orange County, California.

Stories of strength are for sharing. Pass them on. Thank you.

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