In an attempt to save the Rakhine language from extinction, 60-year-old Kra Thum Sein Master, a leader of the community, has been running a school at his Taltalipara house in Barguna's Taltali upazila for years now.
The elderly teacher is trying to teach the Rakhine kids their own language so that they do not forget their mother tongue.
At present, only 15 Rakhine students of different nearby schools attend the two-hour class daily.
“I have been running the school for nearly 20 years so that Rakhine kids can learn their mother tongue easily,” Kra Thum Sein said, adding that the school starts at 1:00am and continues till 3:00pm every day.
As he does not have any alternative to run the school he receives Tk 200 from each guardian, Kra Thum Sein said.
“Although I study at Chatonpara Government Primary School, I come here to learn my mother tongue,” second grader Usha said, adding that now she can read and write all the Rakhine letters.
During a recent visit to the school, this correspondent saw many Rakhine kids like Manda, Manwan and Mimisu were busy studying their mother tongue.
“We thanked Master Kra Thum Sein for his effort to save our mother tongue from extinction,” said Monchala, an elderly Rakhine woman.
Day by day, many members of the community are forgetting their mother language, she said, adding that if the government doesn't take immediate steps to save the language, it will be extinct soon.
Although there are 600 Rakhine families at nine villages in the upazila, a very few of them get chance to learn their mother language at own cost, Monchala said.
Master Kra Thum Sein said several hundred Rakhine families migrated to Patuakhali and Barguna from the Rakhine State in 1872 and living as an ethnic minority group since then.