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Refugees In Malawi Tell Their Stories

Mohammed Ali Haibel; 36; married with one child; Somalia

"I came to Dzaleka when I was a teenager in 1996 after my parents died in Somalia. It's been 20 years and I still haven't left. I'm a grown man, an old man, and I am still here. I'm a community leader here - I represent Somalia. I stay positive by looking at my wife and daughter and by being social - I talk to everyone! I speak four languages - Swahili, Chichewa, Somali and English - so I can speak with everyone in the camp. I also sell garments, T-shirts and jeans. I'm thankful for my wife and daughter but things have been challenging. I was married previously to a woman from Burundi but she died in childbirth in 2012. It makes me sad to see that needy people are still suffering. As a community leader, I want to help. I prefer to see people who deserve to be assisted but needy people are still suffering."

Clarice Jama; 35; married with four children; DRC.

"I came to Dzaleka in 2003 from DRC. I came with my husband and one child but now we have four children. We left DRC because things became too dangerous. Three years ago, things started to become very challenging in the camp. Every day, I went to my neighbour begging her for food and money. I didn't have other options. One day she offered to give me a loan because she was tired of seeing me begging all the time. She gave me 50,000 Kwacha (US$70) so I could start a business. Now I sell clothes. I don't think we will ever return to Congo even though life in the camp is hard. There are new arrivals coming from DRC and the news is not good. We wouldn't survive without the food we get from WFP."

Ndayambaj Mohammed and his wife, Jamira; both 45; four children; Rwanda

" I (Ndayambaj) left Rwanda in 2001 after the genocide. I left without my wife and didn't see her for 11 years. Then, in 2012, someone in Dzaleka told me my wife and children were in Malawi. They came to Dzaleka and we have been together again since 2012. Here in Dzaleka I am a farmer. I bought a small plot of land and grow maize, beans and tomatoes but I have to sell the tomatoes for money. There are two big challenges living in Dzaleka. We don't have access to good healthcare. When my children get sick, I do not know what to do. There is no medicine. We also have not be granted refugee status - we are still classified as asylum seekers. This doesn't make sense. We've been here for 10 years and still are not entitled to the same services that refugees are."

Etando Tobongye; 26; married with four children; DRC

"I came to Dzaleka in 2015 from DRC. I left with my four children and husband because of security problems. I will not go back to DRC but life here is hard. I don't have any work opportunities here, so it's hard to get money. My only food comes from WFP. It's very difficult to get fuel to cook food - charcoal is very expensive. A large bag is 7,000 Kwacha (US$10). How will I get that kind of money?"

Sabafu Gilbert; 18; single with no children; Rwanda

"I came to Dzaleka in April 2014 from Rwanda because of political insecurity. My life at the camp is boring. I don't do anything and I am lonely. My mother went to Lilongwe some months ago and I have not seen her since. One day, I want to have an occupation that I love - one that could get me far in life. I want an education. I want to become a businessman."

Stanislas Nshimirimana; 37; married with three children; Rwanda (but born to Burundian parents)

"I've been a refugee my whole life. My parents fled Burundi in 1972 and went to Rwanda, so I was born in Rwanda. Then in 1990, insecurity started in Rwanda and my brother, who was five, was killed. After he died, we fled to Tanzania. We had to keep moving because of security problems with the Burundian Government. Finally, in 2005, we came to Dzaleka, where I'm a shop keeper."

Source: World Food Programme