Sociology Society visits Dzaleka

February 13, 2018   Chanco Bulletin
During Gift Presentation (from left: Mr Austin Ndala (lecturer); Chrissy Nyirenda, (Society Treasurer), Matthew Phiri (President); Mr Ralph Chimenya and Ms Patricia Kambewa (UNHCR officers at the camp))

Student life at Chancellor College is not limited to campus experiences, but also often involves educational trips away from lecture rooms. These are experiences that allow the students to appreciate the relevance of their classroom discussions to the outside world. These trips are sometimes organized by student clubs and organizations. 

One of these is the Chancellor College Sociology Society, which had an educational and outreach trip to Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Dowa on 08th February, 2018. The membership of the Sociology Society comprises of three groups - Social Work students, Gender Studies students and Sociology majors. The motto of the society is “Society is Our Concern,” which highlights their desire to appreciate the experiences of those residing at the refugee camp. Through the visit, the society saw the opportunity of witnessing the practical application of classroom knowledge. For instance, the trip offered the students the opportunity to appreciate cultural diversity by coming into contact with the camp’s occupants from other countries. The students also appreciated the work which the government and other organizations are doing in providing security, protection and emotional support to refugees and asylum seekers. 

“We had several issues on paper as per the specializations of our group on the trip,” says Matthew Phiri, the Sociology Society President, a third year Social Work student. “We wanted to understand what it means to be a refugee for that would inform our work and our intervention with them. Related to that, we wanted to have an opportunity to see the world through the eyes of people from other cultures who are also refugees. Lastly,” he adds, “we wanted to understand whether refugees still bear hope for the future and have dreams in a land diametrically foreign to them, or whether their dreams are so inextricably attached to their mother country such that all is in a ramshackle now that they are in a different place, country and environment. It was rewarding, however, to see how some of the refugees get settled, cope with the trauma and do their best to unlock their potential.”

He concludes that it was a worthwhile experience to see how these people are assisted holistically by various non-governmental organizations such as UNHCR, Plan International and Jesuit Refugee Service. Before they left the camp, the Society donated exercise books, boxes of chalk and tablets of soap to assist school-going children at the camp. The members of the society believe that one has lived if he has helped a soul breathe better, feel confident and loved as a result of one’s action.

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