Let there be hope
Kiriza remembers one incident when rebels went to his house, killed his father and 2 of his younger brothers. It was the main reason behind his departure from Congo to Malawi. In 2012, Kiriza arrived in Malawi’s Dzaleka refugee camp. Three years later, his mother died. Life in the camp was very difficult – he had no friends, no relations, no belongings, no house, nothing. It was extremely challenging.
To survive, Kiriza would sell some of the food rations he received to earn money. Kiriza found himself stuck in that predicament for quite a while. The worst part was that being a refugee, he had limited opportunities of obtaining a stable source of income to fend for his family. The struggle continued until a year later when Kiriza’s welfare gradually took a positive twist. The story started in 2013 when Kiriza found himself working on part time basis for an association of people living with disabilities, operating under the brand name Umoja. The group produces a variety of crafts items for our social business department. These products are sold in Malawi and on the international market. Joining Umoja was a minor yet noticeable turning point for Kiriza because eventually, his life slowly started transforming. Working in the group allowed Kiriza to make some income which he started using to sustain the needs of his family.
He earned enough money to buy luxurious goods like television for his family and connected his house to electricity. Although this may seem like a small success, it was an improvement in Kiriza’s lifestyle. Not only that, Kiriza also managed to refurbish the roof of a house he built in the refugee camp. From the money that Kiriza made from Umoja, he bought iron sheets for his house, replacing the temporary plastic paper that he used as roofing for the house.
In 2016 Kiriza became the chairman of Umoja Cards group. For the many that know Kiriza, they attest to his cheerfulness and he’s leading a group that consists of both Malawians and Refugees; together, they are using their hands and changing one story at a time, both within their group and in the camp and the host community. Umoja has left an impact upon its community and for those who are part of it, testify of the blessing it is to their loved ones who benefit from it and the world outside their walls that it reaches.