After fleeing Afghanistan in 2005 with her family, Tamanna arrived in Malaysia facing an uncertain future.  Her education was interrupted at a critical time in her development, and as a refugee, access to schooling in her new country has been difficult.  Now eighteen years old, Tamanna is taking part in Project Self Help, providing her with a unique opportunity to learn essential skills for the future.

“The programme is helping me to improve my English and learn better communication skills with others,” said Tamanna.  “I am enjoying going to the classes and having something to do, rather than just sitting at home.”

Tamanna hopes to continue the programme and gain an IT diploma through Project Self Help.  “A diploma will allow me to work in the future to support myself and my family, so I feel very thankful to be part of the programme.”

Htain Lin
Htain Lin, or ‘Henry’ as he is known by his friends, has big dreams for the future.  The 16 year old hopes to one day become a businessman, supporting himself and his family in a safe country.  

Henry fled Myanmar for Malaysia in 2009 with his parents and two sisters, escaping persecution in his homeland.  He is working towards achieving his dream through Project Self Help, which is helping him learn marketable skills and improve his English fluency.

“I love my classes,” said the enthusiastic student.  “It’s a good environment here – I have so many friends to practice English with.”

Vala Lofti
“I was born in Iran but was persecuted for my religion, Bahai,” said Vala Lofti, explaining how he came to be a refugee.  The 19 year old fled Iran and arrived in Malaysia in 2007, and is now a student of Project Self Help.

Vala Lofti is finding his IT course both challenging and useful.  “The classes are quite intense and our lecturer is very knowledgeable,” he said. “We all concentrate hard and learn as much as we can.”

“I thank HELP University for this opportunity and appreciate their assistance and concern for us,” he said.

A refugee from Myanmar, Maria arrived in Malaysia with her family in 2009.  She started the Self Help programme, initially taking English lessons and then progressing onto the IT course.  

Project Self Help has helped her to feel more optimistic about her future, despite the uncertainty of being a refugee.  “I like my course because I learn new things and think it will helpful for my future,” said Maria.

“Next, I want to learn all about animation,” said the student, who one day hopes to work in the industry.

Somali refugee Najma has lived in Malaysia with her family for over five years.  She attends the weekly culinary classes and has developed a passion for cooking.

“I enjoy making pastries,” said the 16 year old. “I would like to open a bakery shop, my own business, one day.”

As well as being an enthusiastic participant in the HELP University programme, Najma attends a Somali refugee learning centre to further her education.

“Project Self Help is good opportunity and I want to keep learning more,” she said.

Thang Kin
Thang Kin is a refugee and Project Self Help student who aspires to work in hospitality.  After completing his English and IT studies through the programme, Thang Kim also aims to study Self Help’s hospitality course to help him achieve his dreams.

“I want to study hospitality and tourism so can work in this field in the future.  I feel lucky that HELP University is furthering my studies,” he said.

Like many other refugees, Thang Kin arrived in Malaysia with his family after suffering persecution in his homeland of Myanmar.  Hoping for resettlement, he wants to build a better life for himself and Project Self Help is helping him on this educational pathway.

© UNHCR 2001 - 2011