Making the Best of a Bad Situation … and Finding Joy in the Bargain

CWS Indonesia | December 19, 2017

Shawqi in his class. Photo: CWS

Shawqi is a Sudanese refugee who reached Indonesia six years ago seeking refugee only to find himself homeless and scavenging for food. He had Dengue fever for a while, too, but survived and found his way to the protection of the CWS-led initiative to care for the most vulnerable of asylum seekers in Jakarta. And, despite all odds, once he had a chance, Shawqi started learning the Indonesian language, and soon put it to good use. Things started to look up for Shawqi when he was chosen to be volunteer interpreter for the CWS, which provided him a small stipend in the form of a transportation allowance. He was also elected to be a Refugee Representative with responsibility to be a liaison between CWS and the refugee community.

One day, while doing his volunteer work, Shawqi met a Sudanese woman, and they fell in love, married and are now the proud parents of two sons. Yet they struggle. “Now that I have children, I have more needs than before. When single, I could go without food, but my family must eat,” says Shawqi, who was motivated to become a volunteer teacher of Indonesian to others in the refugee and asylum seeker community. Since his teaching also allows him a stipend, Shawqi says, “Now I see that I can live in Indonesia longer than hoped, if I must, and at least I can earn some money for my family. My family’s future is all I can think of. And, in my heart I still hope to be resettled to another country, where I can work full-time, one day”.

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