When the HOPE Malawi team thought about HOPE’s strategic objective of serving the least served, one population that came to mind was refugees—specifically residents of the Dzaleka refugee camp, located about an hour outside the capital city of Lilongwe.
“We seek to serve the Dzaleka refugee community,” says Timothy Malaidza, HOPE Malawi’s operations manager, “because we see it as being financially underserved due to social and systemic exclusion.”
The Dzaleka refugee camp was established in 1994 to house people fleeing ethnic violence and conflict in Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Taking its name from the Chichewa word meaning “I will never try again,” it currently houses around 50,000 refugees in a space meant for 14,000.
With residents of the camp restricted in their ability to receive higher education, access loans, and find employment, most rely on food rations and external aid to survive.
But despite these challenges, the local church is at work. HOPE Malawi has partnered with the Dzaleka Christian Churches Union (DCCU), a pastors’ group that represents 42 different churches across the camp, to implement church-based savings groups—the first time HOPE has done so in a refugee camp.
As Timothy shares, these savings groups will not only empower refugees to save their own money and make loans to one another, it will also “promote their sense of dignity, as well as help grow their relationship with Christ.” We look forward to seeing the fruit of this partnership in the months and years to come.
Join us in praising God for this opportunity to partner with the DCCU to serve refugees in the Dzaleka camp, and pray for savings group members who will be served through this partnership. You can also join us in praying for this request and more by signing up to receive HOPE’s monthly prayer update.
Feature image: Two women carry maize in a rural area outside of Lilongwe, Malawi.