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Beatrice Nyasabimana, 47 years old, from Kalehe, Democratic Republic of Congo


The two camps for Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in Minova town are mostly populated by women and children who have fled conflict. Women are the ones who carry the burden of caring for their families. Nurses who work part-time at the camp explain that it is not uncommon for women to fall into prostitution as a means to earn a living. There are many cases of sexual violence and abuse, but there are little resources to bring assistance to the victims.


Some women find the resources to start small businesses which bring them a stable income to feed their families. Beatrice is one of these women. She managed to start a business, selling Chinese-made cheap products on the local market. Mostly, she sells plastic sandals and buckets.

"I have been at the camp since 2013. I went home briefly for a while but when the rebels came back, I was forced to flee. I have been living back at the camp for three months."


"We women suffer a lot because we are the ones who are responsible to feed our children and take care of the home. Men don’t care about the children, they rely on us. Most women try to work on the fields of the locals. We get paid very little to work all day on the fields. We don’t always find work because there are so many of us asking, so every day is a bet."

" Starting our own businesses can really help us become more independent and earn more money. I was lucky to be able to do this. Now I earn enough money to buy some goods in bulk and then sell them on the market. With my business now, I can earn up to 20$ a week."


Photo & Story by: Clara Veale / © UNHCR 2018


The UNHCR (the UN Refugee Agency) estimates that there are 68.5 million forcibly displaced people in the world today, but only 28.5 million are refugees and asylum-seekers. The rest do not cross a border to seek safety, but flee to other parts of their own country due to armed conflict and generalised violence. These Internally Displaced People (IDPs) often move to areas where it is difficult to deliver humanitarian assistance and as a result, are among the most vulnerable in the world. This month, Voices of Refugees would like to shed a light on the plight of IDPs with personal stories from the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country with the highest number of IDPs in Africa and where armed conflict and human rights violations, including killings and mass rape, have forced 4.5 million people to flee their homes.

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