Welcome to UNV Zimbabwe
Inspiration in Action: Volunteerism at Tongogara Refugee Camp in Chipinge, Zimbabwe
By Blessing Chaumba, UNHCR Community Services Associate
The vicious cycle of violence, displacement and loss is a recurring theme in most refugee stories.
Despite the personal tragedies experienced by the refugee community, it must be noted that the young people have been proactive at volunteerism and community involvement at Tongogara Refugee Community. I have come across an exceptional young man – John who is part of the youth movement at Tongogara Refugee Camp in Chipinge. John fled war-torn DRC at a tender age and was separated from his family. He navigated his way to safety in a path littered with evidence of failed hopes and broken dreams.
In Zimbabwe, this courageous lad re-united with his family and started a new chapter of his life.
He attended school and played an active role in community mobilization and inspiring young people in his community. His leadership skills and concern for the welfare of fellow refugees have led him to be selected for leadership roles in various capacities. The multi talented volunteer is so fond of the refugee community, his new home.
The spirit of volunteerism is alive at Tongogara Refugee camp with several groups engaging in different acts ranging from clean up campaigns, counseling, peer education and other small public works. UNHCR, implementing and operating partners have harnessed the spirit of volunteerism and have been making use of volunteers in their programming. This kind of constructive engagement is essential for youths and adults alike in an environment which can easily promote idleness, apathy and destructive social influences.
Youth community mobilisers and the UNV Community Services Associate at Tongogara Refugee Camp have prepared a winning proposal for a youth fund which will see the refugee youth being constructively engaged to promote dialogue, sports tournaments and community awareness on HIV/AIDS, Child protection, SGBV, Sexual and reproductive health, health and hygiene, peace education, Disaster Risk Reduction and environmental conservation.
As duly affirmed by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, founded on the values of solidarity and mutual trust, volunteerism transcends all cultural, linguistic and geographic boundaries. By giving their time without expectation of material reward, volunteers themselves are uplifted by a singular sense of purpose.
The best things to give in life are for free
By Esther Dzviti
We don’t choose the families we are born in nor do we choose to have both our parents alive or dead. We don’t choose the race we are, nationality and even sex. The important thing is accepting who we are and loving ourselves so that we can share that love with others.
Children living in homes usually feel that they are less important and they usually have a low-self-esteem. They look highly at those that come from the usual family homes and think they are so lucky and that they are better off than them. It’s not the children’s fault that they look at themselves that way; in most cases it is the society that has created that atmosphere of which it is a negative and disturbing feeling. Children who live in homes should not feel that they can never attain their dreams and they should not feel lesser than anyone because of their backgrounds they need to know that it’s not their backgrounds that determine their future but their present efforts and ambitions that will make them what they want to become.
As the UNVs in commemoration of Nelson Mandela we took a message of hope and encouragement to the Chinyaradzo Children’s Home. We realized that if Nelson Mandela could make a difference in people’s lives we as volunteers can make a difference in the lives of children by giving hope and encouragement.