More than 8,100 children of refugees from Myanmar, Bangladesh and Manipur have been enrolled in Mizoram’s government schools, the state’s Education Minister Lalchhandama Ralte said on Wednesday.
Mizoram currently provides shelter and relief to around 35,000 refugees from coup-hit Myanmar, over 1,000 from trouble-torn Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) of Bangladesh, and over 12,600 internally-displaced people from ethnic violence-hit Manipur.
According to Ralte, of the 8,119 students enrolled in Mizoram schools, 6,366 students are from Myanmar, 250 from Bangladesh, while 1,503 are from Manipur.
Noting that the Mizoram government is committed to providing education to these children, who are from Zo tribes, he said the state government has been providing the students with free school uniforms, textbooks and mid-day meals, just like the local students.
Around 35,000 Myanmar nationals, including children and women, have taken shelter in Mizoram since February 2021 after the Myanmar military took over the governance following a coup.
Over 1,000 tribals have also taken shelter in Mizoram after they fled from their native villages in the CHT after an armed conflict started in mid-November last year between the Bangladesh Army and the Kuki-Chin National Army (KNA), also known as Kuki-Chin National Front (KNF).
The KNA is an underground militant outfit demanding sovereignty for the Chin-Kukis residing in Rangamati and Bandarban districts of CHT to protect the tribal people’s tradition, culture and livelihood.
The Mizoram government, various NGOs, including the Young Mizo Association, churches and villagers provide food and shelter to the refugees while many of them stay in the rented accommodations or relatives’ houses.