Congo family hopes to reunite in Newfoundland and Labrador

Andrew Robinson
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Children of woman in Zimbabwe refugee camp did not know if she was dead or alive

For a number of years, they did not know if she was dead or alive. Now, two siblings who came to Newfoundland from Africa in 2009 as refugees want to reunite with their mother, but to do so they will require help.

Angelique Mukuye and her brother Pascal Mukuye know how hard it is to live in a refugee camp. Originally from the southern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, they were forced to flee the country due to civil unrest and violence.

“We left our country after civil wars, killings, kidnappings and insecurity,” said Pascal Mukuye.

‘Thank God she is alive’

“There is stilling killing there now.”

Angelique had been attacked shortly before leaving her homeland along with her three children and Pascal. They arrived at the refugee camp in Zimbabwe in 2006 and stayed for three years. Angelique was attacked again while staying in the camp before they gained entry to Canada.

Pascal and Angelique were separated from their mother, Salima Madeleine, during the civil war in 2005, and knew nothing of her whereabouts while staying in the refugee camp and moving to St. John’s.

“We thought maybe she was dead, but thank God she is alive,” said Pascal.

Pascal Mukuye said his mother, who turns 62 this year, learned members of the Mukuye family had previously spent time at the refugee camp in Zimbabwe. She contacted her children in December 2010, a short while after arriving at the same refugee camp her children spent three years living in.

“We just want her to come here and live with us,” said Pascal.

According to Tina Rowe, an English as a Second Language teacher who has taught two of Angelique’s children, the Mukuyes need to have a household income of at least $55,000 in order to sponsor Madeleine’s entry into Canada.

Pascal and Angelique are employed full-time and part-time respectively, and Angelique’s eldest daughter Micheline Ngakunzi is working part-time while completing her last year of high school, but their combined income does not meet the required target.

The only other option for reuniting the Mukuyes with their mother is for five sponsors to come forward and agree to help Salima Madeleine settle in Canada. Rowe, who has experience helping refugees come to Newfoundland and Labrador, has already agreed to serve as a sponsor.

“I can’t do it individually. We need a bigger support system than just one.”

Rowe said financially, the Mukuyes expect they can look after Madeleine once she arrives to St. John’s. Once five sponsors are found, Rowe said it could take another two years before everything is in place to bring her to Canada.

The Mukuyes have been sending money back to Zimbabwe periodically to help their mother. People in the refugee camp live on rations and there is a risk of contracting disease in such a densely populated place.

Memories also linger for the Mukuyes of the attack on Angelique while they stayed at the refugee camp. Pascal said it is stressful for the family to think about their mother’s life in Zimbabwe.

Rowe said anyone interested in learning more about the plight of the Mukuye family can contact her by e-mail at or by calling 747-6244.

Twitter: TeleAndrew

Geographic location: Democratic Republic of Congo, Newfoundland and Labrador, Zimbabwe Africa Canada

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Recent comments

  • African
    April 11, 2012 - 11:36

    My heart goes out to the Mukuyes , I hope through this article you will get all the best posible help to help you go through this difficult time , I am only disgusted by some ignorant readers and writers on this article claiming that Refugees get alot from the government compared to Newfoundlanders , If it were you leaving your home land ,all the conforts you were used to and moved to a strange land , wouldnt you need all the support to help you start off a better life ??? You are complaining about $900 they are given plus free furniture , you move away and go to anther country and see if that $ 900 and free furniture will replace all you are leaving behind .Lets try to be supportive these people need a loved one to come and join them , they are concernerd about her well being , if you can sponser them contact Rowe ,if not stop complaining about $$$ and do your research afterrallCitizenship and Immigration Canada- •Total revenues were $465 million from services under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and the Citizenship Act for the year 2011 let them spend it on the Refugess too ...

  • shirley ryan
    April 11, 2012 - 04:25

    welcome to newfoundland, people please be true newfoundlanders and be kind, we are you know , considered to be the nicest people in canada. so welcome to our beautiful little island and treasure it and enjoy the peaceful and scenic surroundings, ignore those who have lack of knowledge. peace t o you and your family

  • Tina
    April 10, 2012 - 23:52

    Just a not to all thinking of domating or making a comment this family is not being supported by the government but are working. Please note that refugees resettled to Canada must pay for their medical exam and their travel to Canada. Since most refugees of course can’t afford these expenses, Canada offers them a loan. As a result, refugee families start their new life in Canada with a debt of up to $10,000. They must repay this loan with interest. This family also has a loan they are repaying. Most people are not aware of this. Ninety per cent of refugees pay the loans back, according to Citizenship and Immigration.

  • Portia
    April 10, 2012 - 13:58

    As a soon-to-be new Newfoundlander, and as someone who is dealing with Canadian Immigration right now, I can say with certainty that outsiders coming in certainly do not "get more" (if anything) than other Newfoundland folks. Disgusted, I'm not sure what you mean when you say that "they get almost $900 each plus free furniture, trans, etc". I don't see a reference to that in the article. It says they work and that their combined income is less than $55,000. But perhaps you are refering to an immigration/ refugee policy where money is granted to the refugee by government? If that is the case, then I don't see why five sponsors are necessary to help this family. A sponsor is responsible to Immigration for financially supporting the person they bring into the country. My case is a little different than the Mukuyes family- my husband is a Canadian born in St. John's, and we live in Bermuda right now, but are relocating to St. John's next month. As a spouse of a Canadian, I cannot even work in Canada until I am granted Canadian PR status (which should hopefully be this summer.) Even getting a work permit is very, very difficult if you are an outsider, because preference is given to Canadians - and that's how it should be, Canadians SHOULD get first preference. When I lived in St. John's with my husband in 2009, I tried to get a work permit twice, and twice I was denied by Immigration, because they said a Canadian should have the job. So, it is not really true that outsiders are given better treatment by the government, or receive more benefits that Newfoundlanders living there. Not from my perspective, at least.

  • Statue of Liberty
    April 10, 2012 - 09:32

    "Give ME your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift MY lamp beside the golden door!"

    • wtf
      April 10, 2012 - 11:43

      Wrong country.

  • Margo A.
    April 10, 2012 - 07:46

    Don't get me wrong. I have nothing against thinly veiled xenophobia. I kinda thought the sad thing would be the killing, kidnappings, rapes, and civil war. Thanks for putting things in perspective, Well.

  • well
    April 10, 2012 - 06:47

    sad part is they are being treated better in Newfoundland by the goverment the our own. Dont get me wrong , im not against anyone trying to start a new life but it is a fact that these people get more from the goverments that newfoundlanders will ever get,and that is very sad

    • wtf
      April 10, 2012 - 07:38

      What a tool.

    • Politically incorrect
      April 10, 2012 - 07:40

      Yes, we are so hard done by, what with all the wars and starvation in Newfoundland. And it's not like Western mining and oil operations are making massive profits from the situation in the Congo. I for one welcome these new Newfoundlanders and hope they are happy and healthy for the years to come.

    • Disgusted
      April 10, 2012 - 08:10

      I agree. It's outrageous to see how much is given to some of these people and how little is given to some of our Newfoundlanders who really need it. A guy waiting for lung transplant gets just over $1000 monthly to pay rent and live on while they get almost $900 each plus free furniture, transportation, bedding, medical and the list goes on and on. We need to take care of our own as well as we take care of others