Dukwi refugee camp sprawls across several square kilometres of Botswana bush along the road between Francistown and the Zambian border to the north. Approximately 3,000 people from 14 countries, mostly Somalia, Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe, are living there. The camp may look temporary with its jumble of small brick buildings, shacks and huts but it has been in existence for 30 years. Some of the residents have raised their children and even grandchildren in Dukwi and are sometimes given permission to live and work outside the camp. Residents have not therefore been isolated from the scourge of HIV and yet Botswana is the only country in the region that explicitly bars refugees from its national antiretroviral and PMTCT (prevention of mother-to-child transmission) programme.
The Dukwi Mothers for All group was initially set up by Mali Sobotta, the Central District co-ordinator and the women were extremely excited and grateful to be taught new skills. They could not believe they were making such beautiful jewellery out of waste paper, raw materials that were freely available in the camp at no cost! Below you can see some of the mothers as well as their first training session.