“When he was eight years old evil men came into his home village. They beat him badly and threw him down a septic system. When he was finally rescued, he was taken to the hospital for care. During the treatment it was discovered that he had suffered major injuries to his spine, and there was nothing they could do for him. The damage was irreparable. “ –Alex Bim

It seems strange to see the word “war” and “Malawi” in the same sentence. Malawi is one of a small number of nations with a marked absence of war in their history. The gentle people of Malawi have found the key to getting along on a national level like few other nations on earth. However, the absence of war in Malawi does not remove the effects of war from this peaceful land. In the central part of Malawi is the Dzaleka Refugee Camp. While Dzaleke is not the only camp in the country, it is the largest, housing more than 50,000 refugees, most from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).  The problems associated with one of the poorest nations of earth ((Malawi) trying to help those who seek refuge in their land can be seen in the number of people housed in a camp build to hold only 12,000 people. 

Just one of the people seeking safety in Malawi is Alex Bim. Born in 1987 in the Republic of the Congo Alex tells how the incident when he was eight years old has affected his entire life. He relates that during the time he was addressing his wounds he had to find safety. Malawi was the answer. He came in 1997. 

It is common in low-income countries, like Malawi, to have refugee camps that are highly populated. Alex stays with his elder sister, and like so many people with mobility issues he struggles to move about in a place not designed to house people with mobility issues. Add to that the fact the spinal cord damage he experienced affected his urinary system, and he cannot sense when he needs to visit the bathroom. 

All of this changed the day Action for Progress visited the camp and delivered a mobility unit to Alex. Although he will never walk and will always struggle to move about in a world where little in the landscape, or buildings, or housing is conducive to giving relief to those who cannot walk. 

In Central Malawi, in a refugee camp of 50,000 people, there is a man named Alex. For a number of years, he could not smile. Now, today, his smile has returned as he moves about in his temporary home, visiting with those who live nearby.

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