Riots Threaten Refugee Livelihoods in South Africa

By Send Relief Staff

After the sudden and unexpected riots that destroyed many neighborhoods of a major South African city, the already-vulnerably refugee population living in town remained to cope with the devastating aftermath.

These uprisings violently targeted their shops, and many lost everything they had worked hard to build over the years.

As families struggled to scrape together the remains, they still had to deal with ongoing looting and pillaging, empty kitchen cabinets at mealtimes, hungry, traumatized children and angry landlords making eviction threats for overdue rent payments.

In the two months following the turmoil, Send Relief kept 400 refugees fed and full, despite the extenuating circumstances.

One such refugee, Olive, lived in a one-room apartment with her husband and six children, three of whom were adopted orphans.

While her husband had always felt resistant to Christianity, Olive convinced him to give church another try soon after the food distribution. To her surprise, he loved it!

Olive’s family has attended a local church regularly ever since, and she prays daily that her husband will find hope in Jesus, as she has.

A partner helping with the food distribution commented on its success, “At the beginning of the riots, the faces of refugee fathers and mothers showed utter hopelessness, as they knew that refugees could expect no help from the local government. After receiving food boxes, they were beyond joyful to discover that someone was willing to take the time to listen and care for them. They were energized and hopeful looking at their kitchen cupboards, now stocked with healthy nourishment for their hungry children, and many expressed marvel and surprise to see that Christians were helping people of all faiths. This physical demonstration of God’s love and care spoke volumes to their hearts and souls! Parents are smiling again as they can now concentrate on rebuilding their means of work.”

Thank you for caring for some of the world’s most vulnerable communities with your gifts! If you would like to help more refugee families gain access to life-saving food rations, donate below today.

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Published June 2, 2023

Send Relief Staff