Refugee success Story

From a Mayor to a refugee: "In a day I lost everything"

Kwao, 54 years old: “Memories are all that reminds me of what life was back in Cote d’Ivoire, memories that I hold dear but look meaningless now. I miss everything about home. I miss my frequent trips between Alepe, my hometown and Abidjan. In Alepe, a town just 60km away from Abidjan; I was a landowner.

I wielded some power and authority, not only in Alepe, but also in Abidjan; where I was a manager at the Sitarail Company. I managed all the train drivers at the rail way company, which run between Cote d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso.

I also love music, and that is what I concentrated on during my spare time. I was really proud when I got to record two albums of my own gospel music. The warm welcome I received from my children each time I got home, after a work trip was priceless”.

Kwao is a 54 year old man with a wife and seven children. He and his family had to flee from post-election crisis in Cote d’Ivoire. Before they fled the crisis, Kwao who has also become a Mayor at Alepe, was targeted due to his political influence in the town. “I became the Deputy Campaign Director in Alepe for one of the major political parties in the country during the presidential elections”.

Kwao and his family are currently living at a refugee camp in Ghana. The family is involved in “atsieke” business, as well as running a retail shop where some food items are sold. “Sales are not so high, but it has the potential to grow”, he says. The sudden turn of events for Kwao and his family, has helped him develop another passion for writing. “I just started writing a book; it will be the testimony of my life”. Kwao who cannot fully come to terms with how the conflict has negatively affected his family, cautioned on causing conflicts in the society. “In just a day, the bad boy can be the chief and the chief can be the slave”, Kwao says.

Refugees – ordinary people living through extraordinary times.