Akhi: Getting along
Social mobilizer shares her experience and words of wisdom about EU Social Hubs
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Teknaf is an area rife with unrest and danger. Only recently, seven people were reported to have been killed during an altercation in the area.
The insecurity is a powerful reason to make social hubs a safe-haven for adolescent boys and girls – somewhere they can enjoy before they enter adulthood.
In a large room with a tin-roof beside the main social hub building, Akhi is conducting a peace-building session.
The room is plastered with beautiful paintings and collages and everyone is seated in a circle on a bright red carpet.
"It doesn't matter whether one is Bengali or Rohingya, if we are afraid of each other or hurt one another, it won't work. We have to get along," she says. The adolescent girls around her all nod in agreement.
Akhi has been a Social Mobilizer at this hub now for six months and she has no doubts that things are going well.
Boys and girls from the Rohingya and host communities get along well despite the unrest around them.
"They mingle happily with each other, and if asked whether they have any disputes, they say no because they are all friends here."
That does not mean there isn’t any shortage of hurdles to overcome at the club, not least the large sizes of Akhi’s classes.
But such difficulties do not stop Akhi from talking about the challenges she faces trying to get more adolescent boys and girls to attend the hub.
But it all seems worth it when they do.
"Fun things happen at the hub every day when one is with these kids!" says a smiling Akhi.
Disclaimer: Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.
This UNICEF programme supported by the European Union Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP) aims to enhance peaceful co-existence among adolescents and youth, to strengthen social cohesion and bridge gaps between Rohingya and Bangladeshi communities. You can download a digital brochure and poster of the project here.
This publication was produced with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of UNICEF and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.