World Refugee Day: Celebrations in Dzaleka Refugee Camp - Malawi
29 June 2016

Children from Mtendere preschool opened the World Refugee Day Celebrations with a prayer. (Robert Kabale Mbanda, Hugo Hivanove Mpenzi, Joseph Kabila Bahulule/ Dzaleka Refugee Camp)
Refugees are human beings like you and me. We all have common goals and positive change through the spirit of togetherness. We can enhance peace.

Dzaleka Refugee Camp, 29 June 2016 - On the 20th June 2016, guests from various organisations arrived early in the morning at Dzaleka Refugee Camp. Among the high profile guests was the Minister of Information, Communication, Technology and Civic Education, Patricia Kaliati. 

“The government of Malawi is committed to promote the pride of refugees during their lifetime in Malawi”, said Dr. Mankwala, Deputy Commissioner for Refugees in the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Dzaleka Refugee Camp was set up in 1991 with a population less than five thousand people. Twenty five years later, Dzaleka is hosting more than twenty five thousand refugees, coming from different countries, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia, Ethiopia and others. Due to a new development, World Refugee Day was also commemorated in Lwani, the site for new arriving asylum seekers and refugees from neighbouring Mozambique.

Fifteen children from Mtendere preschool opened the celebration with a prayer: “Our Heavenly Father, we honour Your name for being with us, we ask You to guide and give us Peace and Tolerance at this camp so that we can love one another. We pray in Jesus name Amen”.

After this beautiful, prayer these fifteen toddlers performed a poem: “Refugees are human beings like you and me. We all have common goals and positive change through the spirit of togetherness. We can enhance peace. Brothers and sisters, let us promote tolerance to reach the point called prosperity. Everyone needs, peace, tolerance and prosperity in life. Even if I am a refugee I have right to be heard, to improve life. Old or young, rich or poor; respect our status. Together for peace, tolerance with refugees. Strong communities along with government and non-government agencies can help in fostering tolerance and peace for a better living of a refugee. Yes, yes! It is possible and this is a concrete foundation of our prosperity. Together for peace tolerance and prosperity as the title of our Refugee day”.

Dzaleka Refugee Camp Administrator, Owen Nyasulu, delivered the following message: “Let all learn to live together in harmony and tolerance, especially for people who are different from us, and especially if they are part of a minority. The world that we live is characterized by diversity based on culture, nationality, religion and race.  We should ignore negative emotions that arise as a result of those differences, as well as reasoning to discriminate against any any people. The peace that we are crying for is a joint effort; we must work together to contribute in this peace.”

Monique Ekoko the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) representative said: “We are aware that the condition in the camp are not the best. We are aware that food is a problem. We are aware that shelter is a problem. We are working together with all our partners, all our donors and all our friends to improve the situation. Together in solidarity with refugees, let us take responsibility to deal with all these concerns. We will continue to work to ensure that durable solution are found for refugees.”

On her side, the guest of honor, Minister Patricia Kaliati started by saying as government we provide land, security for refugees. It now for Implementing Partners to provide for the needs of refugees.  She asked local Malawian living in the surrounding villages around Dzaleka Refugee Camp, in the Dowa District, to live in peace with refugees.

“We want Malawi to be a peaceful nation and we want to continue accommodate our friends.  Agree with me that we cannot attain peace and enjoy it alone if our brothers and sisters next door are in conflict. Prosperity equals success, we cannot succeed unless we work together, we cannot succeed if we do not tolerate each other and we cannot succeed in a place where there is no peace.”  she concluded.

Story by: Robert Kabale Mbanda, Hugo Hivanove Mpenzi and Joseph Kabila Bahulule/Dzaleka Refugee Camp, Malawi

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