FORGE Refugee Camps

Meheba Refugee Settlement Kala Refugee Camp Mwange Refugee Camp

Meheba Refugee Settlement Top

Meheba was opened in 1971 for refugees who fled Angola during the Angolan revolution against the Portuguese. In the 1990’s, Meheba started receiving refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda, and Burundi. Meheba was projected to close down after thousands of Angolan refugees voluntarily repatriated, but repatriation ended after the Angolan war flared up again in 1998. Although near 64,000 Angolan refugees were successfully repatriated, efforts to repatriate Rwandan refugees have proven unsuccessful. At its greatest capacity, Meheba Settlement provided refuge for ~120,000 refugees from Congo, Angola, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, and Sudan.
Agriculture is the main source of income, but farmers struggle with poor soil quality and expensive fertilizer. Each household is granted 6.2 acres of land to cultivate, but in recent years most refugees arriving in Meheba have not received farm tools and seeds. There are very few job opportunities that offer minimal pay. Farming, small business, and limited agency jobs are the sole alternatives. Men are generally employed in greater numbers than women, and have usually received more schooling than women. Most women are married with children by their late teens. Most refugees in Meheba practice Christianity, although some practice Islam.

Health:

  • The Zambian Ministry of Health operates five clinics in Meheba, although medical staff and medication are often in short supply.
  • Malaria is a primary health concern, especially with young children.
  • The rate of Meheba residents living with HIV/AIDS is unknown.

Education:

  • Education levels vary greatly. Most refugees living in Meheba have received some primary education, but very few can afford the high cost of secondary school.
  • Classes are conducted in English, are generally overcrowded and under-resourced.
  • The Zambian Ministry of Education runs five elementary schools and one high school.
  • Many smaller communities within Meheba are too far from government-run primary schools for children to attend classes there. As a result, many children in Meheba do not attend school at all.
  • Some organizations offer vocational and trade classes to teach practical skills.

Kala Refugee Camp Top

Kala Refugee Camp currently houses approximately 18,500 refugees. Most refugees living in Kala arrived in 2000 following the unrest that ensued after the deposition of Mobutu and the rise of Laurent Kabila. Although attempts were made to repatriate a large number of refugees in Zambia to southern regions of Congo in 2007, recent violence has postponed further repatriation. Most inhabitants of Kala are of the Tabwa tribe. People mostly speak a Congolese dialect of Swahili, French, and Bemba.

Kala is split into 4 zones, each headed by a refugee chairman. Food is distributed every two weeks by the UN Food Program. Business training and agriculture inputs are provided, but land is limited. It is hard to make a substantial income from farming. The major industries in Kala are for small businesses and small-scale agriculture. Although very few job opportunities are available, even if a refugee found a job within the camp, the pay is only a fraction of the regular Zambian citizen wage. Most women are married with children by their late teens.
Health:

  • Several health posts provide limited medical care to the community. There are no doctors and very limited supplies.
  • Malaria is a primary health concern, especially with young children. Malnutrition is common, and rations of HEPS (High Energy protein Supplement) are limited.
  • Water is often polluted from farming chemicals.


Education:

  • Education levels are greatly varied and most refugees have some primary education, but very few have any secondary education.
  • The organization World Vision runs four primary schools and one high school.
  • Refugees living in Kala are employed as Teachers to conduct classes in French using a Congolese curriculum.
  • Educational resources such as textbooks are limited.

Mwange Refugee Camp Top

Most refugees arrived in Mwange in 1998-99 following the unrest that ensued after the fall of Mobutu and the rise of Laurent Kabila in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Although attempts were made to repatriate a large number of refugees in Zambia to southern regions of Congo in 2007, recent violence has postponed further repatriation. Most inhabitants of Mwange are from Eastern Congo where the conflict was most severe. Most families speak a Congolese dialect of Swahili, French, and Bemba.
Mwange is split into 28 zones, each of which is headed by a Refugee Chairman. Small businesses and small-scale agriculture comprise the major industries in Mwange Camp. Limited job opportunities for refugees in Mwange offer minimal pay. Every household receives regular rations of food from the Red Cross, and each family is granted basic household supplies when they arrive. Land for cultivating crops is limited and infertile, and most refugees do not have farm tools and seeds at their disposal. Most refugees in Mwange Camp practice Christianity while a few practice Islam. Most women are married with children by their late teens.
Health:

  • The Red Cross runs four health posts in Mwange Camp.
  • Clinics are staffed by Clinicians and Nurses and have limited health care supplies.
  • Malaria is the primary community health concern, especially for young children.
  • Mwange Camp has 28 water pumps, but water must be rationed.

Education:

  • Primary and secondary education is free for all school-aged children in Mwange Camp.
  • Adult refugees living in Mwange are hired to teach classes.
  • Classes are generally crowded and without many educational resources.
  • Mwange has four preschools, five primary schools, and one high school.

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