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Burundi

Ebumbe Menga, 46

Refugee from the Fizi territories, South Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo, now living in Burundi

I came here to escape the war between the government soldiers and the militias. As a Christian, I spoke against the war and people joining militia groups. Speaking out like that made me a target for the militias, they were looking for me.

A week after I fled to Burundi I heard that my younger brother had been killed. I still don’t know what happened to him. I came here with my wife, my three young children and a nephew. I heard a bit later that my house had been burnt down. We were interviewed many times after we arrived and were given refugee status by the UN.

When you are a refugee it is very difficult to support your family. It isn’t possible for UNHCR to provide for all the refugees in the city and in the camps. I help children with their after school study and I can earn 5,000 Francs (£2.20) which helps provide for my family. Another problem you face as a refugee is health care. The good thing is children under five and pregnant women get free medicine, but things change when you have a chronic illness or if you have a different refugee status. Then you have to pay 50% of bills, which is impossible if you don’t have any money or a job. The other problem is education for our children, we don’t have enough money to send them to school. And then there is the issue of security, some refugees are raped or robbed.

It would be impossible to return to Congo now. Life isn’t good here either and if it doesn’t improve I will ask to be relocated to another country. I don’t want to live in a camp because there are so few opportunities for someone as educated as me, that’s why I stayed in the city. My fate lies in the hands of God and the UNHCR, it is my mother and father now.