The number of people who have fled to Malawi has risen from almost 17,000 in 2013 to more than 37,000 in March 2018 and new asylum-seekers, particularly from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, are arriving each month.
Most of those of concern to UNHCR live in Dzaleka refugee camp, which has a population of nearly 34,000, near the capital Lilongwe.
More than half of Malawians live on less than one US Dollar per day. The vast majority rely on subsistence farming. Industry is limited and major exports include: tea, coffee, sugar, and tobacco. Despite being a poor nation, Malawi currently hosts close to 40,000 refugees. Most refugees come from from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia, and Somalia.
The largest refugee camp in Malawi is Dzaleka located in Dowa District, around 50 km from Lilongwe, the capital city. Dzaleka was established by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in 1994 in response to a surge of forcibly displaced people fleeing genocide, violence and wars in Burundi, Rwanda and the D.R. Congo. Dzaleka Refugee Camp hosts around 28,000 refugees, whereas the rest are living in the district of Mwanza bordering Mozambique. Prior to becoming a refugee camp, the Dzaleka facility had served as a political prison to around 6, 000 inmates.
Malawi’s policies regulating the movement and the right to employment of refugees make opportunities to earn a living outside the camp very limited. Therefore, the majority of refugees are completely reliant on food aid and other external assistance for survival.
It is in this difficult environment that There is Hope works with the refugees and their host community by providing access to business development, education and spiritual development programmes.
There is Hope was established in 2006 by Innocent Magambi, who was born and lived as a refugee for 27 years across five different African refugee camps. With his experience, Innocent brings unique insight into the underlying realities of the refugee crisis in sub-Saharan Africa.