Field notes, perspectives, stories & updates from IAFR's work in Dzaleka Refugee Camp, Malawi
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have not been able to visit our refugee partners in Dzaleka in nearly 2 years. Although we have continued to walk hand-in-hand with them during this time, we have always longed to see each other face to face. In normal circumstances, we hope and plan to visit Dzaleka at least twice in each calendar year, and we are excited that the doors have opened for us to hopefully visit again in October and November of this year. We will be closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation and guidelines of both the US, Malawi, and the UNHCR in Dzaleka, but as it stands now, we are moving ahead in faith that these 2 visits can happen.
Our visit in October will be focused on spending time with our refugee church partners. These churches have carried a heavy burden in the community over the past year, providing physical, spiritual, and emotional care for families during the pandemic. We look forward to worshiping together, praying together, and even lamenting together at what has been lost. Our November visit will be focused on continuing to invest in trauma counseling and trauma recovery in the refugee community. We hope to provide more updates to the blog during each of these trips.
In a place like Dzaleka Refugee Camp, the work of a pastor never stops. Providing emotional support, visiting the sick in their homes, and even transporting the sick to and from the hospital…these are just a few of the tasks they perform on a regular basis. And in a camp of nearly 50,000 people, even these few things can easily take up a whole day.
One practical tool that helps pastors and other church leaders in these tasks is a bicycle. A bike can ease the burden of transportation in countless ways, and it can help pastors reach places and homes they often cannot on foot. Bicycles enhance the life-giving work of churches in the camp who are providing essential emotional and spiritual support to the community. They truly help lighten the load physically and figuratively for pastors who carry a heavy burden for their people in need. This past month we were able to provide 45 bicycles to pastors and churches throughout the refugee camp, and even to some of the Malawian villages in the host community near the camp. A huge thank you to everyone who helped support this work.
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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