Home Other News Dukwi refugees set for miserable winter

Dukwi refugees set for miserable winter

Dukwi refugees set for miserable winter
GRATEFUL: Anabtawi(L) receiving towels from Masa Square Hotel representative

A United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) official has described conditions at Dukwi Refugee Camp as ‘appalling and deplorable’.

UNHCR associate protection officer, Layla Anabtawi warned that at least 2, 300 refugees at the camp – many of them women and children – are ill-equipped for the cold of winter.

“Primary school going kids wear thin clothes. Most of them are failing to concentrate in class because of the low temperatures. Young kids are walking to school with one-layered clothes,” highlighted the concerned officer.

“This is the time we really need clothing donations,” stressed Anabtawi, who was fielding questions last Friday after receiving bathing towels, winter gowns and sanitary pads from Masa Square Hotel on behalf of the refugees.

“It is pretty cold out here, and nobody is there to help them, bearing in mind that UNHCR is scaling down its operations here in Botswana. We are appealing to the business community to assist the refugees,” continued Anabtawi, who praised Masa, which is a subsidiary of African Hotels and Adventure (AHA) Group, for their generosity.

Located 110km northwest of Francistown, Dukwi is home to refugees from Zimbabwe, Namibia, Somalia, Eritrea and the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) amongst others.

During a guided tour of the camp, The Voice witnessed refugees living in tents while some young children walked around barefooted.

In addition, many of the refugees, especially the children, look malnourished – leaving them more vulnerable in the cold temperatures, which are expected to drop to below zero by July.

Without tangible intervention, Anabtawi said she is not optimistic about improvements.

For her part, Masa Square Hotel Sales and Marketing Manager Neo Nkele said her organisation always finds joy in sharing with underprivileged members of the community in order to make a difference.

Nkele promised this was not the end but the beginning of a long relationship with the refugee community in Botswana.

The Hotel made the donation while on their annual nationwide tour, which started on May 27 and ended on June 2.


  1. This camp should not be appalling and deplorable
    Thank you UNCHR for coming to the rescue of the people and children and Masa Square Hotel
    The Day of the African Child is normally celebrated and this is not the way to treat children
    If any Organisation can help pick up the phone
    Wonder when the African continent leaders will learn to look after those seeking refuge while in North of Africa 600 people aboard the ship Acquarius have been granted to stay in Spain afater being rescued and it seems those in charge here do not care . Think its is time for a Unicef celebrity ambassador to visit this camp

  2. And this week is Refugee Work the Continent needs to up its care for Refugees on the continent

  3. Correction: And this week is Refugee Week the Continent needs to up its care for Refugees on the continent

  4. Very shocking how the refugees are being treated and also shocking that Organisation like SADC is not listening they come across as if they do not care about refugees

  5. If you cann donate your time to teach the refugees -Pick up the phone
    If you can donate your time to teach the refugees to make a garden – Pick up the Phone
    If you have toys that your children do not need – donate them to the Refugee Children- Pick up the Phone
    If you have footballs lying around -donate them to the Refugee Children – pick up the phone

  6. If you can donate some food for the Refugees -Pick up the Phone
    Where are the african celebrities to highlight the plight of african refugees – Pick up the pho