After five years absence, this year I was finally able to visit my Motherland Burundi again. My big dream was to rejoin the school children, parents and teachers in my village Murira, part of the commune of Gihanga . I really wanted to check how the primary school children are doing as during my last visit in 2017 I realized that many of them were following lessons sitting on the floor.
While back then I was able to find a temporary solution to do a quick repair of as many school benches to have less kids sitting on the floor, the work was from finished. So that visit was the start of dignity at Schools as every child has a right to quality education! Making sure school children have access to proper means such as school benches is part of that!
This year, thanks to my partners, I was able to give a huge boost to building the capacity of the Burundian team to repair even more benches, making sure they are really sturdy to last a long time. When I arrived in Burundi, I immediately teamed up with parents, teachers and local artisans to get our work going.
While the work was on-going I asked some children how they felt to sit on the floor while they are learning and they were quick to reply ”I get back aches, and after a day my knees and neck hurt very much”, “I have trouble to concentrate” and “I cannot write well because I am using my knees as a table”. I also asked about their dreams, why they are studying hard, so Kessia told me that her dream is to become a doctor, Fanny wants to be a singer while Chris wants to become a model. But how can they make their dream come true when they are learning in such poor conditions? Every child has a right to education, they should not sit on the floor!
In Burundi they call young Children “Burundi Bw’ejo” which means “ Burundi of tomorrow”. We all know how important good education is for children, they are our future. So we better act very fast! And that is what we did. Together with our local team we worked very hard for the children of Murira these past weeks and yesterday the moment arrived to finish our first 50 schools benches to help at least primary school children in Murira to attend their school in dignity.
I was so proud to see the kids’ warm smiles and joy when they received the benches. So, while we are celebrating this success, there is so much more work to do since there are still more classes without chairs and my dream is that each primary school kid in the whole of Gihanga should be able to follow education in comfort.
While we are nearing the end of 2022, I am very confident that the Gihanga team will continue to work very hard for their “ Burundi of tomorrow” beyond this year as well. They have really shown me that they are able to do so much more, so if their story inspires you to help them out, feel free to get in touch with me!
I feel so proud of the people of Gihanga to care for their children and I want to thank everyone who supported them, wherever you are in the World. Together we are bringing positive change for the Future Generation, Burundi Bw’Ejo.