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Happy to start school in Nakivale Refugee Camp, Uganda – January 2019

Burundi Education Project

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About the Project

The Burundi Education Project started in 2010 with the primary objective was to help indigent children attend high school. In the Burundi context, elementary school is free whereas high school is fee-based. Due to extreme poverty many parents, who rely on subsistence farming, cannot afford to pay the required fees.
Between 2010 and 2015, hundreds of students were paid for in six high schools. With the funds provided by our project two of those schools had started small businesses to sustain themselves in the long run.

Since April 2015, due to political unrest, the project has shifted its focus to children who fled their homeland and became refugees in neighboring Rwanda. Many of these children have already lost 1 parent. Our project is sponsoring hundreds of students to attend elementary and secondary school. In the Mahama United Nations Refugee Camp, tuition fees are waived for refugee students; therefore, we dedicate our resources elsewhere. In the capital, Kigali, and various other cities throughout this small country, we support Burundi students attending both public and private schools. This support includes tuition & fees, supplemental food support to families, and micro-loans to parents so that they can create a way to provide for themselves.

Attending school in Kigali, Rwanda
Attending school in Kigali, Rwanda

We’ve found that secondary school students attain better results while attending boarding schools because there they escape the trauma of food insecurity, cramped quarters, and the various stresses that derive from inadequate living conditions. So far, we have helped 359 students in Rwanda.

Destinations of Burundi Refugees
Destinations of Burundi Refugees

According to the UN, over 55,000 Burundians found refuge in Uganda, north of Rwanda. More than half of them are children. 90% of all Burundi school-aged children are unable to receive schooling. In 2018, we conducted our own Uganda fact-finding mission. We now want to extend our success in Rwanda to Burundi refugees in Uganda.

Happy to start school in Nakivale Refugee Camp, Uganda – January 2019
Happy to start school in Nakivale Refugee Camp, Uganda – January 2019

100,000 people from 10+ nations live in Nakivale Refugee Camp where there is only 1 UN-run elementary school and 1 UN-supported secondary school.  Students attending these 2 schools speak many different languages, so the task of educating them is even more daunting. Consequently, most school-aged children go without schooling.  Often community leaders in the camps teach students in informal classrooms held under the shade of a tree or in tents.  We have decided to support Burundi students in Ugandan refugee camps as well as in the cities.

As in the case of Rwanda, secondary school students attain better results while attending boarding schools. We support 292 students in the 2019 school year

Our plan is to help more children from Kindergarten to High School.  To make our efforts sustainable, we would like to be able to give out more micro-loans so families can start businesses and not only feed their children but also become self-reliant in the long run

Meet Renee Singirankabo and Lin Ndayifukamiye

Retired History and Languages high school teachers in London, Ontario, we were born and raised in Burundi. We attended elementary, high school and university in Burundi. Lin went abroad for his graduate studies.

We immigrated to Canada in 1994 due to civil war in Burundi that lasted from 1993 to 2006.  We know that if it was not for the education we received, we would not have had the opportunities we had in Burundi and in Canada.

Growing up in relatively poor families and being first born of 7 and 8 siblings, our parents sacrificed a lot to send us to school and to pay our tuition fees. We are grateful to all the people – family members and neighbors – who supported us through our education process.  We are happy and determined to give back to current generations.

Lead Member: Renee
Lead Member: Renee
Lead Member: Lin
Lead Member: Lin
SHARING IS CARING
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