Evans Mweemena Kamabwe will celebrate his fiftieth birthday in a few months and has been living in a refugee camp for 23 years. This was never part of his dreams. Having spent years being cut off from the outside world due to lack of electricity, he has found his way into sustainable self-employment, with a proud display of entrepreneurial skills he learned with Alison free online learning.

Qualified Electrician

Evans was born in 1966 in the Republic of Zaire, a central African State, now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo. As a young man he trained as an Electrician, passing the national exams in 1989 at the age of 23. His future seemed bright but Zaire was in a constant state of turmoil and change since Mobutu’s seizure of power with a Military coup in 1965. The state later collapsed (1996) with the destabilisation of eastern Zaire and the Rwandan Civil War.

Life as a Refugee

Just three years after receiving his certification as an electrician, at the age of 26, Evans was relocated to Dzaleka Refugee Camp, in Malawi, Africa; He is still there, 23 years later. Without electricity in most refugee camps, Evans education came to a halt, and life as he knew it became stagnant. He found himself struggling with thoughts of his future. He was alone in the world. Thankfully, he found happiness in love, and now with his wife, they have seven children.

At the end of 2013, more than 136,000 refugees were listed in Southern Africa, and an additional 278,000 asylum seekers. The government, worried about human trafficking, national security, smuggling and just general abuse of the system, set up tighter border controls. This, in one sense protected the refugees, but also imprisoned them further. Nearly all subregional countries are party to the 1951 Refugee Convention and to the 1967 protocol, but for most living in refugee camps, life is pretty basic and very grim.

Despite the deplorable living situation he found himself in, Evans managed to keep his thirst for knowledge and one day the lights came on, literally speaking. The refugee camp got electricity in 2012, nineteen years after he entered the refugee camp. Although the use of electricity was primarily for the main people running the refugee camp, it was with limited time and access to a shared computer that Evans found his way back into Education. Following a link on social media advertising free online education, he ended up on the Alison website and has not looked back since.

Dzaleka Refugee Camp

“I live in Dzaleka refugee camp; the highest persecution of life you can imagine. Alison is a gift to me and has allowed me to transform the way I think. Now I can focus on the management and entrepreneurship courses I have enrolled in.”

Loving the challenges he faced with Alison’s free online courses, Evans became eager to better himself, in the hopes that he can provide a better life for him, his wife and their seven children. “I am not finished with Alison. I feel like I have really just started with a whole new life. I am learning online as much as possible and will get my Diploma in business management and entrepreneurship soon.”

Evans has already put his learning into practice by taking the knowledge he has learned with Alison and in true entrepreneurial spirit, is sharing it with others.

Evans’ advice to current and future learners:          

Don’t lose heart. Don’t lose hope. I know it is not easy, trust me. If you are seeking education, and can’t for whatever reason. Be it a family situation preventing you from attending school, or you can’t afford it, or you have been displaced in life as a refugee (like me) due to political war, civil war or religious conflict, join the Alison learning community and just start learning! Allow yourself to prepare for the future. Become a leader and help ensure there is free education for everyone in the world.”

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