I am a refugee, but more importantly, I am a dreamer

This is the story of refugees, of people, of dreamers, of doers. But first and foremost, these are stories from real people who never let their adversities define their potential and future. In these stories, get to know the dreamers living in Dzaleka refugee camp in Malawi.

We hope that their stories inspire you. That they ignite a flame of passion and drive in you that may be burning hot or currently hibernating. What we hope that you take away from these stories are that no matter where you are, your circumstances, or what others may tell you, it’s never too late to dream. And never too late to turn those dreams into realities.

A big thank you to our amazing Funzi Ambassador Mmunga for helping us conduct the interviews at Dzaleka refugee camp!

Binti Wilondja

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Binti fled the country with her brother in 2005 when she was 18. Since then, she hasn’t seen or heard from her parents. She has now been living in the Dzaleka refugee camp in Malawi for 5 years.

Binti currently works as a hairdresser. Her dream job is to work with, and sell cosmetics. She believes that this is an area that combines her ambitions and talents well. Binti initially had this idea when she helped out in her aunt’s salon. The customers really liked her work; making her feel like this is something she could really pursue. Binti has recently joined a group of girls to work on and support one another’s dreams. She said that living in the refugee camp definitely has not stopped her from working towards her dream. “I know who I am and I trust in my abilities to make my dreams a world success”, says Binti. Giving up is not a choice.

She believes that education is the key to making her dream a reality. She loves learning and surrounding herself with experienced people who are able to help her grow. Binti kindly asks that if there are organizations providing training within camps and communities, she would warmly welcome your support. Leave a comment below and we can connect you!

“Falling down is an accident but sitting down is a choice”

And to all you dreamers out there, some words of advice from Binti to you:
“My advice to you who are working on your dream is to work really hard. Falling down is an accident but sitting down is a choice. Dream it, live it, and achieve it; that will define who you are. We can't change the world if we don't turn a new leaf. Don't live without a specific dream or goal.”

Simon Mtambala

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Simon is a Burundian living in Malawi. “My story is very long, but today, I am happy to be in Dzaleka refugee camp where I feel like I can start building the foundation for the rest of my life,” says Simon.

He is currently a self-employed carpenter. His dream would be to own his own audio and video production company. Back in 2000 when Simon was living in Burundi, he worked in a production studio for 6 months. It was a job that paid well, and the studio also created a lot of opportunities for his community. That’s why he would like to be able to offer the same opportunities for his new community.

Living in a refugee camp, the main way he is able to work towards his dream is by doing research. He spends his days gathering information from different sources to learn more about the production industry, as well as how to start a business. Like most people, Simon has certainly experienced the feeling of defeat. But when he feels that way, that’s when he turns to his friends. To ask them for advice, for reassurance. They help him restore confidence in himself, and in his dreams. They keep him focused.

So when you feel like giving up, just know that you don’t have to go through it alone. Talk to people. Ask for support.

People are usually always willing to lend a helping hand. You just have to ask. So if you’re working in the production industry, or just have a lot of knowledge to share, leave a comment below, and we’ll forward your message to Simon! Let’s come together to help people achieve great things one dream at a time.

He also wanted to remind everyone to ask for advice when you need it. Don’t hesitate to ask others about their dreams and how they have been able to achieve it. Ask, and learn from others. Then, you’ll know how to better prepare to reach your own dreams.

Mabonge Bilombele JP

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Mabonge is from D.R. Congo, now living in Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Malawi. He fled his home with his parents in 2011 because of the war. Mabonge is now a student as well as a barber.

He believes that if there is one thing he can succeed in, it’s doing network marketing. His love for business began when his friend and brother Mmunga completed the Founder 101 online course on Funzi and introduced him to the idea of being an entrepreneur; to take matters into his own hands. Mabonge has always enjoyed spending time on the internet, either for school or to meet and talk to people from all over the world. “In some way, I feel like the internet has helped me find my second family”, said Mabonge. “Since I’ve been able to make so many amazing friends on the internet, I think that network marketing is the perfect fit”.

Mabonge hasn’t been able to work much towards his dream since he was struggling with life in the refugee camp. However, having a friend like Mmunga who goes out of their way to help because they believe in your future means that he wouldn’t let Mabonge give up on his dreams. Nowadays, Mabonge is working towards his dream by learning more about business and how a typical network marketing company is run.

His advice to you is to pick a dream that fits with your capabilities. And if it doesn’t fit, try something else that you love. This will help make your dreams more attainable.

Mmunga Lulaca Adams

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Mmunga is a Congolese national living in Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Malawi. He fled his home in 2011. Since completing the Founder 101 free course on Funzi, his dream has been to be a businessman.

Mmunga first started a small business with zero cash investment. He had the idea to grow mango trees: “I walked around the camp and collected 1100 mango seeds, I sowed them, and sold them to people. When someone wanted mango trees, I offered to plant them for free. I sold 1000 mango trees for $1 each within two months.” It took a lot of hard work, so he worked very hard. And it paid off. He made $1000. His plan is to invest this into his own small business within the Dzaleka Refugee Camp.

There have been many occasions when Mmunga felt like giving up. He thought that achieving his dream would be impossible due to the lack of capital. But there comes a point where you just have to go for it. To not let the setbacks stop you from taking the next step. Low capital definitely did not hold Mmunga back. He is actively participating in business training, meeting people to discuss his goals, and even started his own small business.

What Mmunga needs to turn his dream into a reality is an awesome team! A team that’s excited to learn from one another. His goal is to take every opportunity that comes his way. If you’re interested in joining him on this journey, get in touch!

Success takes passion, hard work, and more hard work.

“I would advise others to be passionate about learning. Learn for your dreams. Be conscientious and enthusiastic about your dream. Be positive, easy-going with people, communicative, and goal-oriented. Gain self-control and be a self-motivated person willing to take on initiatives because there’s going to be a lot of work”, Mmunga advises.

He also emphasized that “if you don't go after your dream, you’ll never achieve it. Don’t delay because ‘actions are the key to success’. Whatever your age may be, you're never too young to start achieving.”


If there’s one point to remember from their stories, I hope it’s that you know you’re not alone. It may not always be easy to admit that the road to your dream is a hard one, sometimes you feel like giving up, and sometimes you need help, but great things are rarely achieved alone.

 

Phuong Tran
phuong@funzi.fi
Marketing & Communications at Funzi.
Passionate about sharing beautiful stories of inspiring people.