Over 300 Zimbabwean students enrolled in various programs in Algeria under the Zimbabwe-Algeria Bilateral Scholarship Program claim that some of them have now turned into prostitution and drug dealing in order to survive as the government of Zimbabwe has failed to pay the agreed $3,000 allowances per student a year.
One of the students, who declined to be named in fear of being victimized, claimed that they last received the allowances about 16 months ago.
“It’s been long without receiving the money. We last received part of the amount last year in January … and here we don’t have anything to eat. Right now during the month of Ramadan they don’t cook, they don’t open restaurants or dining halls. So, we have to cook for ourselves for three months. We have nothing to eat.
“Some girls are now engaging in prostitution. Boys are engaging in drug dealing. We are suffering … For now we are begging, we are going into the streets (looking for food).”
The Zimbabwe Embassy in Algiers is allegedly failing to take care of the needs of the Zimbabwean students, who at times beg for money from other nationals, including Zambians.
Another student, who also requested anonymity, said some of them are losing their valuable gadgets like laptops and mobile phones to other students, who give them money and then fail to pay it back.
Their claims were echoed by three other Zimbabwean students in Algiers.
Studio 7 was unable to get a comment from staff at the Zimbabwe Embassy and Higher Education Minister Jonathan Moyo was unreachable on his mobile phone last night.