Keeping Hope Alive: Building resilience

Originally from eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, Muzabel spent 13 years in a refugee camp in Tanzania before arriving in Kenya. After a year in Nairobi, he moved to Kakuma Refugee Camp and once there, continued to learn English but found himself with little else to do. A few months later, realising that there was a lot of direct assistance but very little being done to enable refugees to stand on their own two feet and hold their livelihoods in their hands, Muzabel founded RAI - Resilience Action International (formerly SAVIC).




RAI is a refugee-run organisation which operates in Kakuma but also in Nyarugusu Refugee camp, Tanzania. It provides programmes including vocational education and training, entrepreneurship development, as well as information on sexual and reproductive health, in order to empower refugees to fulfil their potential. At the same time, Muzabel undertook the Diploma in Liberal Studies and opted for the Entrepreneurship concentration. It was challenging, between overseeing RAI's work and the 30-45 minute bike ride to reach the learning centre — but it was worth it. 

"Through the Diploma programme, I learned key skills and acquired great connections that helped me grow my NGO. We can now reach more than 2,000 refugees per year because of the foundation that I learned in the programme," he told us.

After completing the programme, Muzabel was awarded a private scholarship to complete a Bachelor's degree from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (Nairobi). Heart set on a Master's, he then applied to the London School of Economics as well as Georgetown University. Both offered him scholarships but in the end, he opted for the Global Human Development Master's Program (MGHD) at Georgetown University, focusing on social entrepreneurship and innovation, taking on additional courses in programme design and strategy. 

Having recently graduated from the MGHD, Muzabel feels as though he "can impact the lives of many more people in a much more efficient way" than before. The immediate goal is to go from theory to practice by working for an international organisation or social enterprise in the USA, gaining the experience which could inspire him to take on additional personal projects and/or pursue further studies. In the meantime, learning Spanish, learning about new education technologies, self-teaching himself to become a salesforce administrator as well as exploring the rest of the USA are in the order of the day, all the while at RAI's helm.

Oh, and — "I also collected a pile of books about development that I hope to read in my spare time."