WINDHOEK – A former employee at the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration saw the need to set up an organisation that offers social, legal and health protection to refugees living in Namibia.
Johanna Kanini Kaukolwa, the founder and co-director of the Southern Africa Refugee Protection (SARP), a non-governmental organisation, said she saw the need to establish the organisation based on her work experience and the challenges experienced by refugees in Namibia.
“The organisation was founded with an extensive traceable record and experience in circumstances concerning refugees and asylum seekers. Having been in the system we could easily identify loopholes and our aim is to complement and fill the gap,” explained Kaukolwa.
So far, 40 refugees benefitted from the organisation which officially started last year, said Kaukolwa, a former refugee status determination officer. Kaukolwa said the majority of refugees currently residing in Namibia are from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi.
Sometimes, these citizens find themselves on the wrong side of the law because they lack knowledge on the offences they committed some of which result from the language barrier, said Kaukolwa.
“A lot of them were arrested with pangolins and were caught harvesting devil’s claw,” said Kaukolwa. “We usually meet them in various places – at the moment most of them are scattered in Otjiwarongo,” said Kaukolwa.
The organisation is working towards harmonizing the relationship between refugees and the public by developing educational programmes emphasising on economic growth, environmental and social entrepreneurship among others, said Kaukolwa.
The organisation also aims to assist refugees in Namibia to have access to employment “and that they are recruited in a fair and ethical way”, said Kaukolwa.
Co-director of SARP, Nkrumah Mushelenga, a former commissioner for refugees in the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration, said the organisation is working with the theme “working towards a world without refugees”.
He said that in the case of Namibia, managing refugees is provided for in the Namibian constitution.
Mushelenga believes if refugees are well managed, the end result is economic growth and social cohesion.
“This can be done without encouraging brain drain as it leads to generational poverty,” added Mushelenga.
“We want a world where people move for good intentions such as studies and tourism. That will lead to economic growth,” said Mushelenga.
2019-02-13 09:57:46 4 months ago