A Rite of Passage

The Rohingya, an ethnic group that is predominantly Muslim, originate from the Rakhine state in Myanmar where they are being violently persecuted in what has been deemed an ethnic cleansing. These circumstances have led thousands of stateless Rohingya to flee to neighbouring countries on small, overcrowded boats – often with many casualties.

Malaysia is one of the countries that accepts Rohingya refugees; however, most of them do not have proper documentation or even legitimate status as a refugees. Several NGOs have come to help the Rohingyas, such as the Malaysian International Welfare and Humanitarian Organisation (MyWelfare), which is based in Selayang, Selangor. Some of the children are orphans living at the MyWelfare centre, while others live there with their families. All of them receive education, food and other basic necessities, organised by Ustaz Rafiq, one of the centre’s founders.

MyWelfare took the initiative of organising a circumcision ceremony last April for the Rohingya children living in Malaysia. Adat berkhatan, or the circumcision ceremony, is a Muslim custom. The ceremony is usually held for children aged between one and 12. Usually, circumcisions cost a significant fee, but a group of doctors volunteered to do it pro bono.

Seth Akmal was born in KL. He began working as a photojournalist after finishing his diploma in Photography and Creative Images in UiTM Seri Iskandar.

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