Upliftment of Burmese Refugees by students from IIT Delhi



While few Indians are busy ingraining feelings of regionalism,  a larger number are devoting themselves towards fostering a harmonious world. These students of SIFE-IIT Delhi give us a glimpse of the power of  brotherhood that is keeping humanity alive.

SIFE (Student In Free Enterprise) – is an international non-profit organization that aims to mobilize university students to make a difference in their communities and become socially responsible business leaders.

SIFE IIT Delhi is the student chapter of SIFE in the IIT, Delhi. Established in July 2010, it comprises of a team of 26 dedicated students working under faculty supervision

Their Project Aarambh, has taken up the cause of the development of  Burmese refugees settled in West Delhi.

There is a large Burmese community in Delhi.While many have been given refugee status, the number of people who haven’t got this status yet is disturbingly high. They spend their days and nights on the pavement near the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) at Vasant Vihar.

The number has only increased after the violence between Rohingya Muslims and Rakhine Buddhists .  Each day is a challenge for them – be it the lack of legal protection, work permits, education or the challenges of discrimination, abject living conditions, and poor health conditions.

These students realized their plight and decided to take up their cause. Since November 2010, their team started Project Aarambh and has been working closely with the Burmese refuge community in Delhi, with the support of the UNHCR.

There are 3 major initiatives under this project.


Marketing goods such as handbags, laptop bags, purses, woolens, coats, shawls – all traditional Burmese handmade designs.



Providing jobs to the people in need by  imparting language, interview skills and work ethics to the Refugees to help them blend into the Indian work-culture and acting as a two way forum between the community and the employers to bridge the socio-lingual gap.


Setting up a platform for the Burmese cooks and introducing their unique cuisines by organizing Burmese food stalls along with event catering opportunities, thus giving essential exposure along with the much needed income to the cooks.

These young students from IIT Delhi are aware of the political, social and cultural dilemmas in helping a foreign refuge community. Their efforts are only meant to make the lives of these refugees a little more humane and meaningful. After all, humanity is the biggest religion.



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