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ZILA lends a helping hand to refugees

Staff Reporter

THE Zimbabweans in Lesotho Association (ZILA) has donated food parcels to the Lesotho Refugee Camp in Maseru as part of the organisation’s social responsibility initiatives.

The food parcels were handed to the beneficiaries in Mohalalitoe, in Maseru last week.

The handover was attended by United Nations’ High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Lesotho officials and ZILA chairperson Osborne Tanheka and board members Zachariah Magumi and Boasi Mpofu.

The refugees, drawn from different countries across Africa, stay in families of three to seven people.

Mr Tanheka said the eight families each received food parcels whose sizes were determined by the number of family members.

“ZILA is always ready to lend a helping hand to the disadvantaged,” Mr Tanheka said.

“When the lockdown started on 30 March 2020, we realised that most organisations were giving assistance to ordinary people but we also realised that people at this camp, who mostly rely on piece jobs, were locked indoors and could not fend for themselves.”

A UNHCR representative, Nthatisi Thabane, said the refugees were in need of self-help projects like carpentry, manufacturing aluminium products, fashion and design and gardening. These would help them become self-sustainable.

The ZILA bord members said they would come up with initiatives to assist the refugees based on their capabilities.

Lesotho is signatory to the international convention on refugees. Under the UNHCR convention member countries can accommodate citizens of other countries who may have been forced out of their own countries due to strife.

UNHCR is a United Nations agency mandated to protect refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people. It is tasked with assisting them in their voluntary repatriation, local integration or resettlement to a third country.

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