Benjamin Mugisho seems like any other university student. He lives away from home, has a Facebook page and makes plans for the future.
But his life was not always like this.
Mugisho is a refugee from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, one of the most war-stricken countries on earth.
Now he is raising money to travel back to his homeland to film a documentary aimed at teaching New Zealanders about orphans in Congo.
At age nine Mugisho fled from rebels who invaded his village in East Congo.
He was separated from his family and spent several years living with anyone who would take him in.
In 2007 he travelled from his homeland to Uganda to visit the Red Cross and search for his family.
He believed he had little hope of finding them, fearing they had been killed by the rebel forces that invaded his village.
But two and a half years ago the 22-year-old found his eight siblings and parents in New Zealand and joined them here.
Mugisho now studies law and criminology at AUT University and hopes to join the United Nations.
He says going to university is something he never could have dreamed of while living in Congo.
Mugisho’s focus is now on his documentary.
He hopes it will teach New Zealanders about the conflict in Congo and how it affects countless orphaned children.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo lies in the centre of Africa. Bordered by Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan, it is the second largest country in Africa.
The conflict in the Congo has been widely referred to as the world’s deadliest since World War II.
Beginning in 1994, the conflict is mainly between the Hutu rebel fighters and the Congolese army, though numerous warlords and militia groups contribute to the crisis.
Despite the war’s severity, Mugisho says many New Zealanders are not aware of this because it is not reported in the media.
His statement is supported by activist group War Child.
It says because the rapes and killings have been going on for so long, the media does not consider it news anymore.
Sofia Hashimoto-Bensatto will be travelling to Congo with Mugisho to help film the documentary.
She says although 48 women are raped every hour in Congo, she will not be afraid for her safety.
“I’m fair-skinned and someone with my skin colour won’t have many problems there.
“I don’t feel scared because I know they won’t do anything to me. It would attract international attention.”
She used to live in Africa and hopes the documentary will encourage people to talk about Congo.
“The more people talk, the more people know and that means there will be less ignorance.”
Mugisho is holding a fundraiser to pay for the making of his documentary.
He says they need around $20,000 to cover flights and equipment.
The fundraiser will be held at the Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre tomorrow.