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BURUNDI: Poor children attend school through collaborative project

Salesian organizations collaborate to ensure 38 children are able to attend school

BURUNDI

(MissionNewswire) The Maltese National Federation of Past Pupils and Friends of Don Bosco and the Association des Anciens de Don Bosco au Burundi have collaborated to launch the new project “Giving Every Child a Chance – Helping Poor Burundi Children.” This project, which started in September 2020, is helping 38 poor children attend school.

The children are orphaned and do not have any other means to attend school. They spend their time begging on the streets. The aim of the project is to support these children in their education, as well as help some of their mothers earn a living and learn healthy cooking and budgeting skills.

This project helped provide the funding for integration and supervision of children through games, singing and dancing, monitoring children’s education, purchase of school uniforms, payment for school fees, tutoring for children who need help with homework, and support, supervision and training for mothers. Children in the project now have regular school attendance.

The project has also had a positive effect in the local community. Since most of these children wandered the streets, child begging has declined because these children are now in school and learning. This positive change impressed people and the mothers had much pride in their children’s accomplishments.

For the feast of St. John Bosco, the Burundi Past Pupils organized a pilgrimage to the sanctuary of Mary Help of Christians in Buterere. On the feast day, they celebrated Mass in their parish and after, the children and their mothers were invited for a meal to celebrate.

“All children deserve a second chance at a positive life,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “This collaborative project is ensuring that these young children are able to access education and learn the skills to advance in school and later gain employment. This is changing families and the community.”

Burundi, located in the heart of the African Great Lakes region, has seen more than a decade of violence and conflict which has contributed to widespread poverty, according to UNICEF. Burundi ranks 185 out of 189 countries on the 2019 United Nations Human Development Index and close to 70 percent of its residents live below the poverty line.

Children are some of the most severely affected by the country’s rampant poverty. Fifty-three percent of children under the age of 5 suffer from growth stunting caused by inadequate food, low-quality diet, poor infant feeding practices, poor household management of childhood diseases and the general decline of the country’s health system.

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Sources:

ANS Photo (usage permissions and guidelines must be requested from ANS) 

ANS – Malta – Turning Burundi’s Child Street Beggars to School Children

Maltese National Federation of Past Pupils and Friends of Don Bosco

Salesian Missions – Burundi

UNICEF – Burundi