Menes La Plume awarded at World Bank spring meetings
26 April 2019
Trésor Nzengu Mpauni, Rei Foundation partner and friend, has been presented with the Africa Social Inclusion Heroes award in Washington DC at the State of the Africa Region conference which took place in April as a part of the 2019 Spring Meetings of the World Bank. This award recognised the work Mpauni has done in organising the annual Tumaini Festival which takes place at Dzaleka Refugee Camp, where he lives.
Mpauni is a poet and musician (who performs under the name Menes La Plume) is from Lubumbashi in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Mpauni was forced to flee violence in his home and came to Malawi as a refugee. The Tumaini Festival elevates the status of Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Malawi (many are not aware of its existence) and provides an enriching experience for camp residents and people from outside the camp.
Mpauni says, “the festival promotes peaceful coexistence between refugees and host communities, but at the same time we boost the economy of residents in Dzaleka Refugee Camp by attracting over 30,000 visitors each every year. Beyond this economic benefit, the festival also has a positive psychological and social impact on the community at Dzaleka and its surrounding villages.”
Mpauni received his award from Sheila Redzepi, Vice President of External and Corporate Relations of the World Bank Group. A former refigee himself, Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khayre of Somalia invited Mpauni on stage to recognise his contribution towards refugee advocacy, and show his solidarity.
"It is a reminder to me of the responsibility I have to use my influence and my voice for social change and justice"
— Trésor Nzengu Mpauni
The importance of the award is not lost on Mpauni, who says, “the international exposure that comes with it is a reminder to me of the big responsibility I have to use my influence and my voice for social change and justice”. Mpauni has managed to combine this commitment to justice and his community with his musical talent: along with receiving an award, he was also invited to perform at the opening the Africa State of the Region event.
Mpauni is now busy planning the next Tumaini Festival which will run from 31 October to 2 November, and working on entrepreneurship and innovation training for young people and women at Dzaleka Refugee Camp.
Rei Foundation has been working with Mpauni for several years, and is extremely proud to see him win such a prestigious award. Along with supporting a national tour in 2015, Rei Foundation also works with Mpauni’s organisation Tumaini Letu, which runs the Dzaleka Storytelling project. This project aims to collect and share traditional cultural stories from the myriad cultures represented at Dzaleka.