On December 14, 2006, 13 Rohingyas from refugee camps in Bangladesh arrived at the then-Kitchener-Waterloo Reception House through the refugee resettlement program coordinated by the Canadian Government and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

They were part of a wave of 250,000 Rohingya who fled their native Burma [Myanmar] during the military’s “Operation Clean Nation” in 1991-1992. Prior to fleeing, many Rohingya witnessed their homes and villages being burned, their relatives being arbitrarily detained and killed, their property confiscated, and their rights denied. Since 2010, the Bangladesh government has not issued exit visas for the third-country resettlement of Rohingya refugees to other countries so the Rohingya who have arrived in Canada since 2010 have come from countries like Malaysia, Australia and Saudi Arabia. Currently, approximately 500 Rohingya live in Waterloo Region.

In 2010, many Rohingya in Waterloo Region became Canadian citizens. It was emotional for the community to regain citizenship after having been stripped of citizenship from their place of birth and homeland, Myanmar. The resettlement process opened a future of exciting possibilities and started a new life. They are thankful for the chance to get a good education for their kids, a better life for all of them and the opportunity to have a voice for their community facing genocide in Myanmar. The first generation of this community is learning English, finding jobs and enjoying the dividends of a peaceful and stable country. Their children are doing even better, going to universities and getting their first professional jobs. They are succeeding.

Thank you for supporting us

What we have achieved would not have happened without the support of peaceful Canadians, partner organizations, supporters and our amazing team that worked on the issue. We would like to thank them!

“Building a virtual community – Proud to be Rohingya”