At the Makeni Refugee Transit Centre in Lusaka run by AAH Zambia, Sandra* goes about her chores confidently. Except for a slight limp, she is a confident young lady and is at ease with her friends. What may not be immediately apparent to someone are the traumatic events that befell Sandra before she finally found a safe haven at Makeni.
It all began 23 years ago during the raging conflict in Democratic Republic of Congo when Sandra lost her parents at the hands of a berserk gang. Luckily, Sandra, then only an infant, escaped unhurt and was rescued at the tender age of six months by a priest who later passed on due to illness. At age 15, she was taken in by another family, but before long, terror struck yet again leaving its wake in her newly found home while she was left nursing gun-shot injuries on her legs. Sadly, young Sandra became a victim of defilement by five men who also stabbed her in the stomach and left her for dead. Lucky for her, she survived, after being taken to a hospital.
After all these painful experiences, Sandra was left emotionally scarred and traumatised. Her escape to Zambia three years ago as a refugee put her on the journey of recovery. Her current stay at the Makeni Centre is a welcome relief for her as she continues to be attended by AAH Zambia counsellors who were her first point of contact when she arrived. Sandra has also received additional medical care. She underwent amputation on one of her legs as a result of the injuries she suffered. She has been provided with an artificial limb to aid her movement.
As she goes about her work, Sandra is grateful for the holistic support provided at the Centre. Staff who are caring for her are very happy with the progress she has made to regain self-worth and move on with her life.
*Name has been changed to conceal identity
By Ngosa Mukupo, Social Counsellor, AAH Zambia