Learn more about the people who have captured our hearts.
WHO ARE THE REFUGEES?
There is a massive refugee crisis in our world today! Currently, there are almost 21.3 million refugees! Due to war and violence in many countries, they have been forced to flee. There are 34,000 people that are forcibly displaced every day. They end up at refugee camps. Here they seem to get “stuck” unless someone helps them. Many refugees have witnessed extremely traumatic events, like family members being murdered. Most of these people have the potential to do great things!
LIFE IN A REFUGEE CAMP
Upon arrival to an undisclosed location we discovered that there are currently approximately 28,000 refugees in the camp from 12 nations. Mainly from Congo (11000), Burundi (6000), and Rwanda (5000) Somalia and Ethiopia. The camp is only about 5 square kilometers big. The refugees may not work unless it is on a voluntary basis where they might receive a “donation”. They may work inside the refugee camp for a salary. Some people have their own small business like a salon, restaurant, or selling from their rations in the “market”. They receive rations as follows per month (per person): 12 kgs of maize, 3 kgs of beans, 0.5 liters of oil, 1 cup of sugar, 0.5 cups of salt, 1 cake of soap, and 1 kg of flour. The local Malawians can come to sell meat and vegetables inside the camp, but many people cannot afford to buy this. Most refugees depend on their resettled families to send them some money from abroad to survive.
Less than half the children go to school because the facilities and varied languages do not allow for all of them to attend. There are 64 churches in the camp – from all denominations. Upon arrival as a refugee, you must find your own way. Some churches assist the arrivals with temporary accommodation. The land is given free, but they must then build their own home. A house can be bought from about 2000 USD. Refugees may not leave the camp without a special pass. The maximum time allowed out is three days. They can apply to have electricity and get billed for it each month.
The Youth Congress gives young people in the camp the opportunity to do modeling and dancing shows. They aim to allow them to have competitions with the community but due to little funds, they are not able to do this. The children and youth are exceptionally talented and gifted. They work hard and they have big dreams with a lot of ambition.
There are many projects running in the camp – all headed by volunteers. Henry, a volunteer, is the head of the recreation center – he offers art, poetry, English, and dance lessons to the children ages three to eighteen. He and his five helpers do not get paid to do this service and do it out of love. He also offers embroidery and crocheting to the ladies who are orphans, single mothers, and widows, to help them keep busy and give them purpose. They may sell their hand-made pieces to people inside the camp.