I am a Logistician and working with MSF since last 5 years but this was my first mission and first time worked out of Pakistan with MSF. I joined South Africa mission, Johannesburg migrants project in May 2010 , it was a completely new experience for me, working for migrants in an urban setting is completely different as compare to typically MSF projects.

Photo source: Shahid MUHAMMAD

Johannesburg city is the shelter for more than two millions Zimbabwean migrants, most of the migrants cross the border to South Africa risking their lives to flee the economic meltdown, ongoing political turmoil, and increasing violence and unrest in their country. Migrants community is different from all kind of other communities, Unfortunately I will say that migrants don’t have any community that create more difficulties for them and for any of actor who works for them , people living in one place came from different parts of the country and some time from different countries so they don’t know each other very well and could not make a community or collective objectives, secondly they have a lot of legal issues and difficult living condition that breaks there social life as well. Working with this kind of community is very challenging. In Johannesburg migrants are living in abundant buildings inside city , most of the buildings don’t have legal status and some time they are hijacked as well , some time migrants became evicted from these buildings and they came in streets with no place to sleep.

Photo source: Shahid MUHAMMAD

Time to time we do small distributions of blankets and other goods ,  when they have to sleep in cold streets of Johannesburg when they become evicted from any of building. Apart from all the medical assistance that MSF provides , we also work for the health promotion of these migrants , most of the buildings are full of rubbish and rats , MSF arrange the massive cleaning that include provision of cleaning tools and trucks to take out the rubbish , it helps people to get rid of all the rubbish that can cause big health hazards. Life of migrants inside Johannesburg is miserable and working with that community and providing some kind of relief for them give me a lot of inner satisfaction.
Shahid MUHAMMAD, Logistician from Pakistan, joined MSF in 2005. He was sent to South Africa for a mission in 2010.

Comments (1)

  • anon

    Thats a good job you are doing brother,,,,

    Feb 26, 2011

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