Letter to the Zimbabwean Government and the Algerian Government from Zimbabwean students on the Bi Lateral Presidential scholarship studying in Algeria
Firstly, we want to take this opportunity to thank the Algerian government for providing tertiary education to international students without any charge. As community of Zimbabwean students in Algeria we will maximise usage of this opportunity for the development of our country.
This is our last option to write to you, since we have tried to communicate with every responsible office but no action was taken. To the Algerian government it has been 2 years since the responsible ministry send us stipend so that we could take of ourselves. Our government promised us an amount of 3000 USD per year but they lastly send 1300 USD in September 2015 up to date
Now the students (430) in Algeria are living like paupers, always begging form others. The situation is even worse at moment, there are reports of massive depression amongst students, that is also resulting in some complicated p condition and psychological disturbances (Allen Masara final year medical student who was reported to have mental illness and was eventually sent home in February 2018). Since most of the students under the scholarship are unable to take care of themselves due to background situations like being orphans or having disabled parents.
Sometimes you might be carrying your national pride be in this case we are even afraid to be identified as Zimbabweans since we are known to be the most struggling students at all universities. We are known for academic excellence, but in this situation our performance has dropped drastically due to our social instability
We don’t want to be forced into illegal practices trying to eke out a living, as it also damages the image of our country. We tried by all means to follow the protocol of communication with the responsible Ministry of Scholarships lead by Minister Christopher Mushohwe but to no avail. The situation here is out of control, there are several reports of girls being sexually abused, as they try to find a way to survive. Zimbabwean boys work at industries, where they are paid $4 per day for nine hours and at times they are arrested after being perceived as illegal immigrants. Some students they are abandoning studies working in construction sites without protective clothing, they also receive ill treatment and unpaid wages form these construction sites or arrest by police since it’s illegal act since are holders of student’s visa’s without working permits. It seems the government has just dumped students in foreign lands to suffer, rather than studies.
In December 2017 we decided to demonstrate outside the Zimbabwean embassy in Algeria, the embassy officials seem not to be bothered by the situation, we were roughed up by embassy staff and they called the Algerian police to beat us and some of female students were injured.
As students we are now living from hand to mouth, begging from other students from Nigeria and Angola, while some have been slapped with lawsuits for failing to pay off debts after borrowing from colleagues. The female students are now exposed to vices like prostitution, and male are exposed to acts like robbing, drug dealing. The government must stop promising things they could not deliver to students.
We kindly ask the Algerian government to stop accepting more Zimbabwean students until the Zimbabwean government deals with this crisis. unless you will be exposing more students to inhuman behaviour and suffering in foreign land.