When refugees flee their countries because of wars, conflicts and violence, they settle down in refugee camps. The Meheba Refugee settlement in Zambia is one of the refugee settlements in Africa hosting people who were forced to leave their homes. What does life in this settlement look like and what else should you know about Meheba refugee settlement?
What you need to know about Meheba Refugee Settlement
- Having been established in 1971 by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Meheba refugee settlement is the largest refugee settlement in the country. It is located in Kalumbila District, North Western Province of Zambia.
- The population of Meheba refugee settlement includes persons of concern (PoCs), refugees, former refugees, asylum seekers and the host community.
- The countries of origin of the people living in the settlement are Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola, Rwanda, Burundi and Somalia.
- Meheba refugee settlement is a haven for agricultural products in Kalumbila district, a mine district. The refugee farmers supply the mines with rice, vegetables, honey, cassava meal, corn samp meal and beans. They also supply boarding schools in the district.
- Meheba refugee settlement has the most self-reliant refugees. Many refugees in the settlement have businesses like grocery business, small livestock businesses and tailoring business that enable them to sustain themselves and their families.
- Meheba refugee settlement is divided into 8 blocks from A to H and each block has a primary school and there are 2 secondary schools in block A and B. Caritas Czech Republic has also established technical and design workshops in the settlement. The settlement also has 3 additional community schools.
- The government of Zambia through the Ministry of Health has ensured that six (6) blocks in Meheba refugee settlement have a clinic.
- There are 2 police stations in the settlement built by the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Commissioner for refugees to ensure the safety of the residents.
Support to refugees in the settlement
Caritas Czech Republic in Zambia has been supporting refugees in the Meheba refugee settlement since 2014 after becoming the livelihoods implementing partner for UNHCR. Such as support to small livestock farmers, financial literacy support and introduction to savings groups, market linkages and nutrition support. Many other NGOs, the private sector and academic institutions, such as the Cavendish University, have been providing relief, support and assistance to the refugees living in the settlement.