Field notes, perspectives, stories & updates from IAFR's work in Dzaleka Refugee Camp, Malawi
Every year, the world recognizes June 20th as World Refugee Day. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) describes the day as one to honor refugees around the world by acknowledging the strength and courage of people who have been forced to flee their home country to escape conflict or persecution. It is a day to build empathy and understanding for their plight and recognize their resilience in rebuilding their lives.
World Refugee Day also brings a report on global refugee realities. This report highlights what has happened in the past year in different regions of the world for refugees, asylum seekers, and internally displaced persons. You can find a copy of the report here.
Recognizing the resilience of refugees and investing in that resilience is important, complex work. For IAFR and our work in Dzaleka Refugee Camp, it begins by breaking isolation, and visiting our refugee church partners on a regular basis to laugh, pray, worship, share meals, and learn from each other. Experience teaches us that suffering is always greatest when a person feels alone, isolated, and as if no one cares. Resilience is often born through community, and a deep sense that I am not alone.
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.
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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