Founder of the ‘Self Help Christian Refugees Association’ Lukozi Bulimwengo received the 2012 Inyathelo Award for Social Justice Philanthropy.
Lukozi was forced to flee his beloved Congo twice because of the devastating civil war that devastated the DRC for many years. Like thousands of other Congolese, Lukozi journeyed across the continent to request asylum in South Africa. Forced to pay R3 to sleep on the floor of a dirty, crowded room in Doornfontein, Johannesburg, Lukozi eventually found work as a car guard. When he lost the job a short while later, he decided to take matters into his own hands and set up the ‘Self-Help Christian Refugees Association’, South Africa’s first legally-registered NPO started and run by refugees themselves.
Using the small amount of money he had saved, Lukozi bought a few second-hand computers and began training other refugees on how to use them. Amongst other initiatives, he also organised English lessons to help refugees integrate themselves into South African society. Lukozi believes his work has helped to break down the barriers of fear that often exist between local communities and refugees in South Africa.