Whoever, wherever, whenever. Everyone has the right to seek safety. But reaching safety is just a start.
Four refugees in Mahama refugee camp in Rwanda tell you about their efforts in finding possibilities and opportunities to heal, learn, work and thrive in safety.
In safety, we heal
Deiudonne Kwizera, 29, is serving the refugee community in Mahama camp as a leader in charge of Youth, Sports and Leisure.
He fled war and insecurity in his home country and where he found safety, he is in the forefront of helping the community, preparing youth meetings, dialogues. He also mobilizes the community to rehabilitate some shelters that needs repairs.
“I inspire young people to have the spirit of love, to help the vulnerable, to help each other.”
Deiudonne says he is serving the community because he understands what safety means.
“It really hurts to live in rout, running sleeping in the bushes, leaving your family. You miss sleeping quietly with your family. I do not want others to experience that. I want a positive change in where we live and even in the whole world.”
He wishes that future generations have access to technology and youth influencers in the camp to continue its work to showcase the talents of young refugees and continue awareness raising to lead them to right path. He also emphasizes that youths all around the world should love each other and treat each other as brothers and neighbours, be it refugees or host communities.
In safety, we learn.
Benis Manirakiza, 42, is a volunteer teacher at one of the schools hosting refugees near Mahama refugee camp.
He was a teacher in his home country and he volunteered to be teaching children in Rwanda too, with his love of refugee children and his profession. He takes his job very seriously.
“Teaching helps me and my family because it provides the means for my family to survive. But it most importantly helps students because it helps their future, the country and the whole world in general”
He believes that he can change future generation and achieve dreams through education. He wants to tell their community to educate children.
“Because you never know, refugee children may one day serve the whole world.”
In safety, we work.
Olive Uwamahoro, 23, is running a business in Mahama refugee camp.
She has taken a decision to work and start her own business, rather than waiting for help to come from somewhere else.
She proudly says, “I am entrepreneur and this is supporting my daily life.”
One day, she has the dream to expand her business.
“As a business women, I want to reach the point of supplying products, instead of being supplied.”
She emphasizes that working hard is important for young refugees. “when you do not work, you cannot make a change. We have to mobilize them to work hard and start business.”
In safety, we prepare to thrive.
Jacqueline Mukashema, 30, is volunteering at Child Friendly Space in Mahama refugee camp.
She decided to volunteer because she saw many children suffering from the consequences of displacement. To help children, she is volunteering to ensure that children are studying and playing safety. She works to build resilience in children by having a dialogue and supporting them by their side.
She says that children that she works with often asks her when they will no longer be called refugees and have a country to belong to. “When I hear this question, I tell them that we will not remain refugees for life, continue to study and the good future will come.”
She believes that her job is very important because she is preparing children for their future, when they will no longer be refugees and be people like others. “I am building children’s confidence. I am making sure children go to school.”
She also has a dream for herself.
“I also wish to continue my studies. I had to stop my studies when I was in the final year of university. I also want to continue working with children.”
Reporting by Community Social Media Influencers in Mahama Refugee Camp. Community Social Media Influencers are encouraged to collect stories, take photos and create videos in their community to tell stories of refugees. They also do awareness-raising campaigns to better protect and inspire the youths and adolescents in the camp.
Edited by Arum Cho