“Oh my God! I don’t even know where to start. I have so much to thank Asylum Access Tanzania for. The trainings we have been receiving about our rights, the legal assistance my family and I received, and the biggest of all: I owe my family’s freedom to stay in Dar Es Salaam to Asylum Access. Now my family and I can live in peace, free from police harassment and arrest. May God repay you, Asylum Access Tanzania.”
Miriam, a refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo
Miriam was a businesswoman and mother of five in the Democratic Republic of Congo. When war broke out, her husband, a local politician, was killed. Miriam, her mother, and her children fled on foot the same night.
“The Maimai surrounded our house and pushed the door in by force. When they entered, they caught my husband. They tied his hands behind his back and took all my clothes off in front of my children.
“Then one of the Maimai soldiers stabbed him in the neck with a knife. I cried to them, ‘Please don’t kill my husband! Please don’t kill him!’ They said if I didn’t want my husband to be killed, I should just open my legs ‘and we will have sex with you.’” She told them she would do anything to save her husband, but the soldiers killed him anyway. “We put the body of my husband in the house and we left the city and started running on foot.”
Miriam fled to Dar Es Salaam, but a new country didn’t mean safety for refugees from DR Congo. Miriam and her family were constantly at risk of arrest. Miriam was robbed. Her grandson was jeered at and insulted. “I had no place to claim any rights, since my family and I had no permit to stay in Dar Es Salaam.”
Then Miriam came to a Know Your Rights training at Asylum Access Tanzania. She returned for individual legal assistance, and Asylum Access eventually helped her family secure residency permits in Dar Es Salaam.