I am Joshua Ruzibuka from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In 1996, at the age of five, I lost my parents in traumatic circumstances. Suddenly, I was an orphan, running for my life, trying to escape the genocide. I left on my own with no support, I struggled to find food; I struggled to find shelter; I struggled to survive. Eventually, I arrived at Dzaleka Refugee Camp near the capital city of Lilongwe in Malawi. In 2013, after living six years in the camp, I had the opportunity to live in the United States.
Surrounded by the love and support of a growing family, friends, co-workers and church, I have built a new life here. Now, with the grace of God, I have become an American citizen and can achieve my dream of returning to Africa to give hope to people still caught up in the struggles I escaped.
I plan to go back to Malawi and Congo to help orphans, refugees, people in hospitals, and people suffering with HIV. My goal is to make my first trip in April of 2020–that is why we call my mission Vision 2020.
The number of refugees in the Malawi camp has swelled to over 35,000, most of whom come from the Congo. Because resources are limited, conditions in the camp are extremely difficult. There is a shortage of food; people cry from hunger and cold. Donations of blankets, clothes, shoes, and food would help to make their lives better right away.Supplies such as fertilizer would allow people to grow their own food on farms in the camp.
Both in Dzaleka Refugee Camp and in Congo, there are orphans who have no one to care for them. We can help to feed them and buy them clothes. Just as importantly, we can help to provide schooling. Many of these kids do not go to school because they have no one to pay their school fees. We have over two hundred kids who need finances to pay their school fees, which are just $160 per child for a whole year. Paying these fees and giving kids the opportunity to go to school will help to prepare for their future and will help equipped them to build a better future for Congo and other refugees.
Furthermore, many Congolese and Africans have been detained for years at hospitals in Congo. They are well enough to go home, but they are not allowed to leave because they cannot to pay their hospital bills. The amounts some owe may seem small to us, as little as $100 or $200. But they do not have the money, so they cannot leave. At some hospitals, like one in Bukavu, people stay outside on hospital grounds. Living conditions are poor and they suffer. Paying the hospital fees would allow them to return to their families. Remember, I have been a homeless orphan and a refugee since the age of five. I know how difficult it is to live with no parents and know what it feels like when no one can help you as a child. I know how orphans in Dzaleka and Congo suffer because I was an orphan there and I suffered. I know how hard life can be for people in refugee camps–so hard that you can lose hope and want to give up. That is why I plan to go back and help them. But I can’t do it alone. I need your help. I beg you to help support these kids and refugees. If you can pay school fees for even one child, it will make theworld of a difference. If you can contribute toward hospital fees for one person, that person can return home to their family. $100, $50, $20—all donations, whatever the amount, are important and will to help to make this vision a reality. Help for today and hope for tomorrow. That is the Vision for 2020.