Red cross opens another kiosk for migrants

Source: Red cross opens another kiosk for migrants | The Herald

Red cross opens another kiosk for migrants
District Development Coordinator, Mrs Sikhangezile Mafu officially opens the Red Cross run safe migration kiosk in Beitbridge yesterday. – Picture by Thupeyo Muleya

Thupeyo Muleya
Beitbridge Bureau
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Zimbabwe Red Cross (ZCRS) yesterday opened a fourth Red Safe Kiosk in Beitbridge that seeks to increase the accessibility of services for migrants and their families and to help related challenges.

Under the Red Safe Kiosk concept the migrants freely access, safe migration information, re-establish and maintain contact with relatives through free internet sessions and calls.

Other services include access to the Red Safe application which allows the migrants to safely store personal documents (IDs, medical records, and education certificates) in a digital vault.

The kiosk which is located near the Beitbridge Quarantine and Transit centre will also cater for the local community members who can access other walk-in services.

ICRC’s Protection Coordinator, Ms Marie-Astrid Blondiaux said the concept was launched in May last year and had so far been launched in Harare, Bulawayo and Zaka and that it will be rolled out at the Tongogara Refugee Centre in Manicaland.

“I encourage all the migrants to download the application or consult the Red Safe website. Many of them struggle with practical issues to register their children at school, access health services, get birth certificates, or arrange transport for repatriation.

Dozens of organisations are providing assistance and protection to the migrants, but they may not know about the vast services available or how to access them. This application bridges that gap,” she said.

It is understood that since May last year the Red Safe application has been freely downloaded from the google play store by over 32 000 people. Zimbabwe Red Cross Society‘s Secretary-General, Mr Elias Hwenga said the Beitbridge facility was conveniently located considering the high volume of transit population which passes through the town.

He said each of the centres was handling close to 500 people monthly and that they expected the Beitbridge facility to assist at least 1000 in near future.

“The opening of this fourth kiosks in Beitbridge will bring the much-needed facilities conveniently closer to the migrating population, enabling them to easily access services aimed at restoring and maintaining contact with their families,” said Mr Hwenga.

The Red Safe application is being piloted between South Africa and Zimbabwe and plans are in place to roll out in Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, Malawi, Switzerland and Zambia.

Mr Hwenga said they were also working on extending services under the application to offer, the geo-location of services which entails the mapping of important locations and services in a map provided by the ICRC’s Geographic Information System (GIS).

Beitbridge District Development Coordinator, Mrs Sikhangazile Mafu, who also chairs the local Civil Protection Committee said the Red Safe Kiosk will help address some of the challenges the stakeholders were facing in addressing migration-related challenges.

On average a total of 500 Zimbabweans return from Eswatini, Lesotho and South Africa by road and the Beitbridge Quarantine and Transit centre where they get services from various stakeholders including the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society.

Beitbridge Residents Association Chairman, Mr Lawrence Tshili said, “This centre has come at the right time and we believe it will help most of the people who usually get stranded after failing to go to South Africa or those being deported from that country”.

Another resident, Ms Lucia Khumalo said, the establishment of the Red Cross Facility will go a long way in addressing social protection issues, especially among minor and female migrants, who are the worst group affected by migration-related challenges.