Loveness comes from Zidunge Village in central Malawi. She is 21 years old and has seven siblings, one sister, and six brothers. When you look at her, she is such a sweet tiny girl. But even with the timid demeanour that African girls are socialized to have as they grow up, you can see she has big dreams. She is the secretary of the Network for Youth Development in Agriculture in her village.
Back home in DR Congo, Shabani was a popular musician. He was respected and well known in the city he came from. However, all that changed when the civil war broke out and he decided to use music to attack the ethnic conflicts that the war bred. Shabani wrote a song that rubbed the wrong people the wrong way and he soon realized that he had made a dangerous blunder. Powerful people who were not amused by his song started sending him death threats and tracking his moves.
In 2009, Abdullah stepped foot in Dzaleka Refugee Camp. He had escaped his home country DR Congo; forced to leave because of a fierce civil war and partly due to a raging family feud that threatened his life. He had not come alone – he was a responsible father with two children, a wife and two of his nephews to look after. Back there in DRC, Abdullah had a decent job as a secondary school teacher and he earned a good salary but that was now all gone and Abdullah’s status changed to ‘refugee’. Survival was paramount and Abdullah knew this but then surviving without any form of employment and no business to bring in money was a big hassle.
Following the demise of his father in 2013, John’s journey to complete his education was hit a sudden blow. Worse, John’s father, a renowned carpenter in the village that John comes from, provided for the family and his death crippled the family’s finances. John’s mother is not employed and her main means of survival was on her husband which meant that she was now left alone to take care of John, his brother and younger sister. Although John comes from a family of seasoned subsistence farmers, they barely made enough money from the sales of their crops to keep the family sustained. Actually, the carpentry business that John’s father ran complemented the family’s small-scale farming but now since he was gone, John’s mother found herself solely relying on the farm.
Female bricklayers… It is not everyday that one bumps into a woman holding a spirit level and building a house or maybe sliding under a vehicle to fix a mechanical fault. In many countries – if not all – construction and engineering trades are heavily dominated by males, forcing some to believe that females cannot engage in those areas.
The open letter to President Peter Mutharika by Mr. Kamwembe, Advisor to Northern Region Development Association, and a number of other recent articles on the issue of refugees in Malawi have caused me great concern. These writings are often stripped of facts and isolated from any context. I was born in a refugee settlement in DR […]