The Value of a Refugee

If you had to give it a number, what percentage of your daily life activities do you have control over? For a group of Burundian refugees living in Nduta camp in northwest Tanzania, that number is 20%. It is an overwhelmingly low number.


They do not have control over their food, employment, education, or even their movement. They are not allowed to leave the camp unless they wanted to return home to Burundi, where they do not feel safe.


What is remarkable, nonetheless, is how much they fight to hang on to hope and positivity. They are welcoming, appreciative, and at times even joyful. The human spirit is amazingly strong, but we cannot allow ourselves to accept the romantic vision of the resilient refugee—and continue to test their ability to withstand hardship. We can do better.


A young woman, speaking for her group, said: “They do not recognize the value of a refugee.” When she says “They,” she means all of us.


Peace, Gabriel