Yayasan Geutanyoe

Geutanyoe Foundation in Malaysia

Increasing Access to
Health and Education for Refugees

Malaysia is the ASEAN country that hosts the highest number of refugees and asylum seekers. While Malaysia is not party to the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol, the Malaysian government allows UNHCR to operate and assist refugees and has on an ad-hoc basis provided temporary protection to specific groups of refugees since the 1970s.


In January 2017, there were over 150,000 asylum-seekers and refugees registered with UNHCR Malaysia and it is estimated that there may be tens of thousands more who remain unregistered. The majority of registered refugees in Malaysia are from Myanmar (Rohingya, Chin, Myanmar Muslims, Rakhine and other ethnic minorities), totaling over 130,000 persons, while the remainder are from a diverse range of other countries including Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Sri Lanka, Palestine, Yemen and Somalia. Over 33,000 of these registered refugees are children below the age of 18.

Our Health and Education Initiatives

In 2016, Geutanyoë Foundation initiated two small projects to support the government and people of Malaysia to serve refugees better in the areas of health and education. Our programme consists of the following projects:

1. Refugee Medical Trust Fund

In mid-2016, Geutanyoë Malaysia established the Refugee Medical Trust Fund with the objective of helping refugees to better access emergency and basic health services with or without UN documents. Besides directly providing financial assistance for medical treatment, support has also been provided in the form of transport and accompaniment to clinics and hospitals, the provision of baby kits for newborn babies, and informing refugees with UNHCR cards about their eligibility for the REMEDI scheme as well as assisting registered refugees to register for the scheme.

Through this initiative, Geutanyoë Malaysia has provided financial assistance and facilitation for refugees to access medical treatment, including for deliveries, vehicle accidents and minor surgery, liver disease, jaundice, Crohn’s disease and mental health disorders.

2. Rohingya Peace Institute (RPI)

As part of our commitment to the right of refugees to education, Geutanyoë Malaysia is managing the Rohingya Peace Institute, a school for Rohingya refugees that was established by Rohingya refugee youth in July 2016 to bring free quality and broad-based education to Rohingya children and adults. The school, based in Kuantan, Pahang, provides free education for children and adults as well as nutritious meals for the children.

Through these projects, Geutanyoë is also involved in supporting refugee youth to assist and advocate for their own communities, facilitating refugees access to information about basic services available to them. As part of this commitment, Geutanyoë ’s full-time staff in Malaysia are Rohingya refugee youth. We also regularly provide advice to policy makers and public education on refugees in Malaysia.

These initiatives have been possible with funding from As-Salaamah wa’Adaalah Foundation and donations from the Malaysian and regional public. We work in close partnership with a number of Malaysian organisations, including HUMANiTi Malaysia, Feeding the Needy, Food Aid Foundation, and PitStop Community Café.

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