Expanding business on World Refugee Day

Harerimana, a 20-year-old woman and mother of a 1 month old baby daughter attended the World Refugee Day celebration Mtendeli refugee camp in Tanzania with her popular bread rolls to display and sell at the exhibition area.


Harerimana arrived in Mtendeli camp from Burundi in May 2016, where she was attending secondary school and earned her income from growing and selling cassava and beans. Like most other refugees in the camp, she used to earn her income in Burundi through agriculture activities, which are impossible to continue in the camp due to lack of water sources and shortage of drinking water, in fact the water levels in Mtendeli has dropped down to 11 liters per person per day which is posing a great challenge to the refugees.

In late 2016, Harerimana became a ‘business intern’ with DRC’s Business Development programme, where DRC’s livelihoods programme supported technical skilled middle size refugee businesses in the camp markets with funding and training to strengthen the market capacity to meet the growing demand. Upon joining the programme every refugee business committed to train five interns in the technical skill of the business such as: bicycle repair, iron smith production, basket production, catering, hair dressing, tailoring or bakery.

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Harerimana with her 1-month old daughter at World Refugee Day

After completing her internship in April 2017, Harerimana applied for participation in DRC’s Youth IGA programme with eight of her fellow interns. Together they opened the bakery ‘Tuweimara Bakery’ meaning ‘Let us be strong’. With an extension grant from DFID, DRC was able to provide Tuweimara Bakery, and 30 other similar businesses, started by former interns, with start-up funding and business skills training. Within only a few weeks the small businesses produced a weekly revenue ranging from 45 to 800 USD.

“After opening the bakery I am now able to bring money home and buy vegetables from the market” says Harerimana as she is handing out bread rolls for the exhibition. Harerimana is able to bring home about 3 USD per day from the business, which is a great contribution to the income of the family as food rations and water levels are continuously decreasing.

World Refugee Day was celebrated in Mtendeli camp yesterday with Burundian drums, speeches and exhibition of items produced by refugees. Mtendeli refugee camp in Tanzania is currently hosting more than 65,000 refugees from Burundi fleeing from the political and economic instability in Burundi erupted by the post-election violence in April 2015.

DRC is the leading camp management agency for Mtendeli and Nduta refugee camps and is also providing assistance and services on NFI distribution, shelter, school & police station construction, WASH, protection, community services and livelihoods interventions for the camp populations and host communities.