Field notes, perspectives, stories & updates from IAFR's work in Dzaleka Refugee Camp, Malawi
When attending one of the UNHCR gatherings in Geneva, Tom Albinson, President of IAFR, and myself had the opportunity to participate in a discussion/working group on Faith Sensitivity in Humanitarian Spaces. The session began with a panel member sharing the story of talking with a woman in a refugee camp. The woman pulled out her Bible and said, “This has kept me alive”.
Many of us recognize the power of the Word of God. Unfortunately, many people who have been displaced left their Bible behind in the midst of the circumstances that caused them to flee. On visits to refugee camps, we are often asked if we can help find Bibles for the people. And we have made it one of our priorities, with churches and individuals helping to make it possible through their financial support.
One of our great joys has been to provide Bibles for our partner churches in the Dzaleka Refugee Camp. May many more be encouraged and strengthened through these gifts of the Word of God.
One of the questions we often ask ourselves in terms of our work is this: what can we do together that we can’t do on our own? In many ways, this is a question about partnership. As an organization, IAFR believes in partnering well with other organizations, churches, and with our refugee friends to respond to community needs in healthy, appropriate ways.
Over the past 2 years, we have seen a new partnership develop in the area of medical assistance in Dzaleka. IAFR US has worked together with Health Partners International of Canada, IAFR Canada, There Is Hope, the Malawi Ministry of Health, and the UNHCR to deliver targeted shipments of medical supplies to the Dzaleka Health Clinic. These medical supplies help serve the refugee camp as well as the surrounding host community. We estimate that each shipment has served more than 12,000 patients with much needed medicines. But even more so, each of the shipments has shown up at exactly the right time, when the supplies in the clinic were almost gone. As our refugee friends in Dzaleka often say, "if you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together." We hope this project is a testimony to how far we can go when we work together.
It is our goal to continue to send one shipment of medical supplies to help support the clinic again this year. If you would like to learn more about this project, and see how you can give to support it, click here.
IAFR has been serving people in Dzaleka Refugee Camp since 2009. About 50,000 people (mostly women and children) have found temporary refuge here from war, persecution and gross violations of human rights.
We visit Dzaleka 2-3 times annually, during which time this blog is most active.
Visit the Dzaleka page on the IAFR.org website to learn more!
We partner with There Is Hope, a Christian humanitarian and development agency established by a former refugee, Innocent Magambi.
We also partner with refugee churches in Dzaleka, seeking to partner with them in pursuing some of the things God has put on their heart to do.
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