Prayer requests and news from Joice Dubce (Zimbabwe): The Umoja/Sisonke project in Esigodini District comprises of four villages. Through theContinue reading...
In 2003 Joyce established the Southern Africa Women’s Institute for Migration Affairs (SAWIMA) and has been a tireless advocate on behalf of this vulnerable population ever since. Being a refugee from Zimbabwe Joice always dreamt about being able not only to support refugees in Southern Africa, but also to help repatriate and support those refugees who return back to their home countries. In 2012, Joice had the opportunity to return to Zimbabwe and start an initiative amongst rural communities in Zimbabwe to help them become self sustainable, and by doing so prevent people leaving to seek their livelihoods in South Africa.
Joyce is a Zimbabwean refugee living in South Africa.
As a refugee she has personally experienced the vulnerability and hardships associated with her status and has witnessed the injustice that refugees often experience at the hands of the host country’s officials and social systems.
In 2003 Joyce established the Southern Africa Women’s Institute for Migration Affairs (SAWIMA) and has been a tireless advocate on behalf of this vulnerable population ever since. In 2012, Joice had the opportunity to return to Zimbabwe and start an initiative amongst rural communities in Zimbabwe to help them become self sustainable, and by doing so prevent people leaving to seek their livelihoods in South Africa. Joice mobilises churches and communities through a process called Umoja, which helps communities be empowered to become self-determing.
Zimbabwe has been in a state of acute democratic crisis since 2000.
There are a large number of reports, both from Zimbabwean and international human rights groups, indicating the extent of the humanitarian crises in the country. The situation has lead to significant numbers of Zimbabweans leaving the country with the majority (as many as 2-million) settling in South Africa.
Three categories of immigrants from Zimbabwe can be identified:
• economic refugees attracted by employment and relatively higher pay in South Africa;
• recent refugees fleeing the deteriorating humanitarian crisis and the political turmoil that has afflicted Zimbabwe in the past 4 years; and
• political refugees fleeing organised violence and torture.
Most of these refugees have sought advice about formalising their status but very few have obtained a permit of any kind. In addition, very few have found any form of steady employment, with the majority dependent on occasional jobs, relatives, handouts from charitable organisations and political parties such as the MDC.
In 2003 Joyce established SAWIMA as an apolitical organisation that seeks to address the socio-economic stability of Zimbabwean refugee communities living in South Africa. SAWIMA responds to a multitude of socio-economic problems facing refugees, including:
- Lack of asylum papers, which expose Zimbabwean refugees to problems ranging from police harassment, failure to find gainful employment, failure to access heath and other social services to restrictions to freedom of movement.
- Lack of humane accommodation. Quite a substantial number of Zimbabwean refugees live in the inner city of Johannesburg, an area characterised by overcrowding, prostitution, high prevalence of HIV / Aids infections and crime.
- High incidence of HIV / AIDS related illnesses and deaths.
- Unlawful detention under inhumane conditions at Lindela Repatriation Centre.
- Abuse of vulnerable refugee women and children.
- High rates of teenage pregnancies and the accompanying consequences.
- Failure to provide decent burials for destitute refugees.
- Unemployment resulting in failure to sustain themselves and their families.
- Abuse by the safety and security authorities.
- Discriminatory practices against Zimbabweans manifesting in social ostracising and other xenophobic tendencies.
Since 2012, Joice has been working with rural communities near Bulawayo by mobilising churches and communities through a process called Umoja, which helps communities be empowered to become self-determing.