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.
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.
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.
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.