A BRADFORD man who came here as a refugee is "giving back" by delivering food parcels to others who have also had to flee from war and persecution.

Mohammed Amin, 33, is of the Rohingya ethnic group, and grew up in a refugee camp in Bangladesh. He lived a "very restricted life" in an "open prison", he says, before finding sanctuary in Bradford in 2012.

Almost 10 years on, Amin is the co-founder and international director of AROUK, a Bradford charity which supports the Rohingya - who are "one of the most persecuted minorities in the world", the UN says.

The Rohingya say they are indigenous to Myanmar, but have faced persecution there. Around 880,000 Rohingya live in the world’s largest and most densely populated refugee camp, in neighbouring Bangladesh.

Amin - who is "extremely grateful" for the opportunities he has in the UK and is now using his position to help society - says there are roughly 600 Rohingya in Bradford, many of whom arrived through its City of Sanctuary Scheme in 2009.

"What inspired me to work in the charity sector was my own experience. I had no opportunities, now I want to use my voice for others", he said.

"AROUK has been working with Bradford Council to provide food for families. Many lost jobs due to Covid, and since last May, we have donated around 3,000 food packs. We also give sanitation packs, which include things like masks, and translate Covid guidelines for Rohingya families - as many don't speak English. Next month, we also have an art competition for children from refugee families."

Amin, who also could not speak any English when he arrived here, says he had a "difficult" childhood: "I had no education, there was nothing for me to pursue. We had limited food and limited clothes."

Amin's parents still live in the same refugee camp, having been stuck there since 1991.

"It's devastating. I have this lovely life in the UK, but this affects my mental health. I can't sleep, when I think of how my parents have been there for three decades, with nothing to look forward to. I'm also concerned for the next generation. If they grow up with no education, our community will be lost. We need the international community to help. They condemn the violence verbally, but need to take action", he said.

In Bradford, the Rohingya are succeeding: "We have lawyers and teachers now. Our young people are hungry for education", Amin explains.

"We have a place to call home in Bradford. Recently, we had two people become teachers, and one girl is now working as a solicitor in Leeds.

"We are proud that we're using the opportunities we have."