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Red Cross reuniting migrants with families


MIGRANTS across the country are benefitting from a Zimbabwe Red Cross Society (ZRCS) initiative to reunite them with their families after sojourning in foreign lands for many years.

Under the programme which started last year, migrants, including refugees and asylum seekers are offered free services such as phone calls and phone charging facilities to enable them to trace their relatives.

Apart from offering services from the country’s two main entry points, Beitbridge and Plumtree border posts, the facilities are also available in Bulawayo, Harare, Gwanda and Zaka.

At Tongogara Refugee Camp in Manicaland province, the facility offers free WiFi and access to computers to thousands of refugees and asylum seekers who would want to reconnect with their loved ones back home.

ZRCS officials said their facilities were gaining popularity in Plumtree, adding that a centre will soon be set up at the Plumtree Border Post.

There are also plans to introduce the facility at other entry points such as Mphoengs and Maintengwe.

“Our officers manning these facilities that we call Red Safe Kiosks are doing a wonderful job. These facilities are gaining popularity with migrants coming in to seek free services that we are offering,” ZRCS secretary-general Elias Hwenga said.

“We are looking at shifting our Red Safe Kiosks located at the Plumtree Border Post to Plumtree town so that we also take care of migrants that would have used other illegal points of entry.

Hwenga said ZRCS was working with government departments to reconnect the families.

Other partners in the project include the UN Refugee Agency, Doctors Without Borders, International Organisation for Migration, World Vision and Jesuit Refugee Services.

One of the beneficiaries of the programme in Bulawayo, Mgcini Ncube, a cross-border driver, said he had benefitted from the facility.

“Many people are being assisted in a number of ways and there are cases whereby relatives are being linked after many years of separation,” Ncube said.

Hwenga said the facilities in Bulawayo and Plumtree serve close to 200 people per day.

“These people would be seeking different services that we offer free of charge with the majority trying to get linked to their relatives mainly in South Africa and Botswana,” he said.

ZRCS appealed to individuals, corporates and organisations to partner them to provide humanitarian services to vulnerable populations.

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