Refugees often suffer deep trauma when they are forced to flee their homes due to violence or disasters. After arriving at a refugee camp, most will spend 10 or more years there. Some are never able to leave. Water Mission is honored to serve refugees, helping them to find hope even as they grieve and heal.
In 2022, Water Mission served nearly 800,000 of our global neighbors living in refugee camps. We expanded access to safe water, added access points throughout camps, and trained local system operators.
Nyarugusu refugee camp in western Tanzania is one camp in which we serve. Our work here began in 2015 when an influx of refugees from Burundi put a strain on the camp’s fragile infrastructure and compounded an existing humanitarian crisis. Water Mission installed safe water solutions to meet the immediate need. We then expanded them to serve the entire camp.
This past year, we installed design upgrades to two existing wells. We replaced generators with sustainable, cost-effective solar solutions, so safe water is available not only for today’s refugees, but also for displaced people for years to come. After commissioning these two projects, we trained the UN Refugee Agency staff and skilled refugees on day-to-day operations. We continue to monitor the systems and act as an ongoing resource, assisting with troubleshooting and maintenance.
Water Mission Engineer Opita Tarcisius says, “There’s never been a challenge so major that it stopped this project in Nyarugusu.”
Antoinette is a refugee and mother who knows first-hand the importance of such endurance. She came to Nyarugusu in 2015 after fleeing Burundi with her three young children.
“At that time, there was no proper water installation here. We used to fetch [unsafe] water from the river,” she said. “But after Water Mission came, we started to fetch clean water from the taps [that they installed].”
She uses safe water for cooking and for bathing her children. She is overjoyed that Nyarugusu can now have a community vegetable garden.