When the Cabinet Minister visited Dzaleka Refugee Camp
18 August 2015

The Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security, Honourable Atupele Muluzi, standing in the middle of the photo-frame, wearing a brown jacket. Malawi Country Director, Rufino L. Seva, standing far right, in the second row and Education Project Director, Percy Chikwela standing in front of him. (Rufino L. Seva / Jesuit Refugee Service)
According to the camp administrator and the chief of the host group villages around the camp, refugees and the local communities have co-existed peacefully ever since the camp was established in 1994.

Dzaleka, Dowa District, 18 August 2015 - Malawi’s Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security, Honourable Atupele Muluzi, visited the Dzaleka Refugee camp, located in the Dowa District, Malawi, on 17 August 2015. The visit was meant for the Minister to familiarise himself with the situation refugees face on a daily basis in the camp.


Representatives from the agencies working with approximately 23 000 refugees in the camp, as well as local government officials welcomed the Minister at the recreational hall. Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) was represented by the Malawi Country Director, Rufino L. Seva, and Education Project Director, Percy Chikwela. The briefing was conducted by the camp administrator and he mentioned that the camp is growing with an average of 300 new individuals arriving each month. The camp now plays two important roles; it is a place of temporary residence and transit. The camp opened in 1994 with refugees mainly from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Burundi and Somalia. Recently, the camp received many asylum seekers from several other African countries as well. 


According to the camp administrator and the chief of the host group villages around the camp, refugees and the local communities have co-existed peacefully ever since the camp was established in 1994.


The Minister was joined by representatives from the local district government, the heads of the agencies working with refugees in the camp and refugee community leaders on a general tour of the camp. JRS projects were included in the itinerary. The Minister took special interest in the livelihoods programmes JRS initiated and took a special interest in the tailoring, carpentry and handicrafts classes and businesses that result from these. The Minister also paid special attention to JRS’s higher education at the margin projects.  The feather in the cap came as he stated that the Malawi government should emulate these JRS projects to promote self-reliance amongst its citizens. He also visited the medical clinic, transit shelter and food distribution centres run by the camp management and WFP, respectively.


Upon completion of the tour of the projects we all went back to the recreational hall where the Minister delivered his formal address. He praised all cooperating agencies involved in assisting refugees in the camp and said that our joint efforts are very impressive. He encouraged the refugees to become self-reliant, to continue to live and co-exist peacefully with the surrounding local communities and called upon all the stakeholders to work together to find durable solutions.


The refugee community leaders relayed their message to the Minister of their willingness to be locally integrated, particularly those who have been in Malawi since 1994 and those that seemingly have no chance to be resettled, already consider themselves as Malawians. The Minister responded by assuring everyone that the government is currently reviewing laws, policies and the Refugee Act to amend the prevailing situation and that durable solutions are being pursued for the refugee population.


JRS in Malawi works to safeguard the educational opportunities for those in the camp – especially children, adolescents and young people whose education may have been interrupted, delayed, or even denied. The education programmes help mitigate the psychosocial impact of conflict and crisis by giving a sense of normality, stability, structure and hope and provides essential building blocks for future social reconstruction and economic stability.







Press Contact Information
Gushwell F. Brooks
gushwell.brooks@jrs.net
+27 11 618 3404