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Widuhari Rukara, 40 years old, from Kalehe, D.R. Congo


“I am from Ziralo, in Kalehe. The Raia Mutomboki [rebel group] came to our village and burnt the houses down. They pillaged everything and killed many civilians. They committed many crimes, including sexual violence against the women. I fled with my children and came here to find safety. I haven’t heard from my family since we fled, I have no news as to what happened to them.”

Widuhari has been living in the camp for several months with her children. Unfortunately, her last child, a very young baby, didn’t survive the difficult living conditions of the camp. Widuhari is in mourning of her baby. “He died today. He was one week old. It is because of the difficult conditions we live in now”.

Widuhari explains that due to the fact that many internally displaced people have come to Minova, work is scarce and the prices pf day jobs have dropped. As so many people compete to get hired on the fields, locals have been able to offer lower and lower payement as months go by.

“I work on the fields, and earn 1500 FC (less than 1$) per day. Some days I cannot find work, because there are many of us asking for the same work. Those days, I beg for help from neighbours. Sometimes, I borrow 500 francs (approx. 30 cents of a dollar) from a neighbour and I pay her back when I get work. I want to gather some money so I can start a little business of my own and earn a decent living. It would be good if the humanitarians came to give us some assistance here.”

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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