What is R-Academy ?
It’s a digital learning academy for stateless and other marginalized people to equip them with skill sets that enable them to excel and earn, administered by the Rohingya Project. The goal of R-Academy is to mobilize the Rohingya diaspora towards creating a teaching culture among the Rohingya community through online education delivery. It is a community-developed education service, due to the denial or underfunding of formal services in refugee camps and host countries, providing social inclusion and economic empowerment. Along with this, the R-Academy provides speciality courses to human rights practitioners, researchers and development field officers working with refugee communities.
There is seemingly no end in sight for the plight of the Rohingya people. Persecuted for over 50 years and driven by military force from their ancestral lands, the Rohingya diaspora now constitutes over 2 million people across over a dozen nations globally including hundreds of thousands of refugees living in refugee camps in Bangladesh. As a result of the genocide and resultant diaspora, the Rohingya people are longing for sustainable solutions to not only secure resources, but also to rebuild their culture and become self-actualized by pursuing opportunities enjoyed by many globally. As a stateless community of people across continents, Rohingya are typically excluded financially and socially from the systems of their host countries. Thus, there is a demand for a space where the Rohingya people and other refugee populations can come together to share resources, exchange goods and services, and rebuild their culture in a centralized space that people in decentralized locations can easily access.
R-Academy aims to be a virtual platform worthwhile for our Rohingya and refugee users, we will ensure that there are prebuilt services ready for them to access when they first use the platform. Thus it will provide valuable community-driven educational services with refugee instructors that also provide credentials as well as rewards that will translate to tangible resources in the physical world. As our pedagogical philosophy puts students and their chosen educational goals at the forefront of our development of R-Academy, we try to allow students to receive tangible incentives for performing well in the courses. Often, refugee communities experience a high rate of turnover of resources due a lack of coordination between groups. However, our platform is intentionally designed to avoid these pitfalls by ensuring that we are training Rohingya and refugee instructors to expand the number of courses that may be offered, as well as having community members aid in designing the curriculum to create an exceptional educational experience. We expect that the creation of a digital community will incentivize users to continue to return, as they will not just receive educational content but actively participate in the building of a community through it if not help design it directly. This will help refugee community members to be incentivized to use the platform immediately upon its completion and continue to build the platform community from the ground up. In this, the R-Academy is not just a platform, but an opportunity for refugees to have a hand in rebuilding their communities and cultures after persecution. At scale, this platform could serve as a template for other refugee communities globally seeking to rebuild and gain access to resources after a crisis. UN agencies often cite the need to involve all stakeholders in rebuilding processes, including communities affected by decision making. In the absence of permanent solutions for Rohingya refugees paired with community cries for more aid and better resources to enhance future prospects, a digital resource hub built by Rohingya with Rohingya needs at the forefront will allow Rohingya refugees to regain a sense of community.