Nyarugusu refugee camp is located about 150 kms from Lake Tanganyika in Kigoma province, Tanzania. It was established in 1996 when war broke out in the neighbouring country of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Over 150,000 people from eastern DR Congo crossed Lake Tanganyika to escape the political and ethnic violence. Now, 18 years later, Nyarugusu is still home to about 70,000 people, who cannot return to DR Congo due to sustained war and instability.
This blog was created by Oliver M. Mweneake and his wife, Miriam Mweneake, after their recent visit to Nyarugusu. The blog aims to bring awareness to the continuous and urgent state of crisis that Nyarugusu residents face every day. It also seeks to create a platform for Nyarugusu refugees to voice their needs, hopes for the future, and remind the world of their everyday struggles.
Many parents and young people in Nyarugusu camp strongly believe that education is crucial to their future outside the camp. Successful high school graduates desire to study university or college outside the camp, a goal which is clearly attainable through educational sponsorship. Among other purposes, this blog seeks to connect with individuals and groups who want to partner with Nyarugusu refugees to improve their lives.
Oliver M Mweneake, holds a Bachelor degree of Social Work and Community Development from Hope Africa University, a Master degree in Leadership from Pan Africa Christian University and a Master of Social Work from University of Waterloo. He works at the Hincks-Dellcrest Centre in Toronto as a family therapist mainly providing services to the Francophone population. He is originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, a high school graduate from Nyarugusu refugee camp, and a passionate advocate for partnership between Nyarugusu refugees and anyone interested in their well-being.
Miriam Mweneake, BA, is a freelance editor and translator. She has worked in various capacities with refugees and immigrants, and desires to foster social justice through partnerships between people, cultures, and countries. Originally from Canada, she lived in Colombia for two years working with a community affected by Colombia’s armed conflict. During her recent visit to Nyarugusu camp, she was alarmed at the continuous state of crisis that Nyarugusu residents have been forced to endure for the last 18 years. Along with her husband, she desires to mobilize people and resources to create real changes in Nyarugusu residents’ lives.