From July 19th to July23rd, 2021, a hundred children from SOS Children’s Villages Bujumbura, Cibitoke, Gitega, Muyinga, and Rutana together with those from the family strengthening initiated by SOS Children’s Villages in 2004, gathered in Kirundo province, in the north of Burundi. During five days of their stay, alongside qualified and experienced educators, they learned much during trainings focused on different themes about their empowerment, entrepreneurship, employability, self-esteem, tolerance, solidarity and sexual health.
For Dr Jean Claude NIYONGABO, Director of SOS Children’s Villages program Bujumbura and focal person for youth empowerment and development, the objective of that gathering of children is in the line of providing them with the opportunity to discuss about some questions related to their empowerment. “We learned more about their participation so as to understand their challenges in order to include them in decision making. For them, it was a good opportunity to know each other because sometimes they meet at school and discuss only about lessons like Maths, Physics, Biology…”, he mentions.
A fruitful meeting!
Children participating in the summer camp witness to have learned much. For Pierre Dominique NZEYIMANA from SOS Children’s Villages Bujumbura, the stay was so amazing. “We loved it so much. It was so wonderful. I and my friends came to Kirundo and discovered lakes like Cohoha and Rwihinda. We were very amazed and empowered”, he rejoices.
Thierry NDAYISHIMIYE, another young from the family strengthening Gitega recounts to have enjoyed the stay too. They shared joy together. “We’ve developed brotherhood. We’vebeen also enabled to remove shyness from us. We really felt good. As a child from family strengthening Gitega, I really liked seeing the young people like us come together in one place to tell each other the news from all over the country. Also, it is a delightful event which shows that spirit of patriotism is being developed within us.”
In the morning of Friday July 23rd 2021, the children from SOS Children’s Villages took part in the building activities of the Kirundo youth reading and entertainment center. This initiative was appreciated by Viateur HABIMANA, Municipal Administrator of Kirundo. To end the summer camp, these children walked in the streets of Kirundo together with their educators before a basketball match which pitted Dream Team of Kirundo against the selected team from the five SOS Children’s Villages of the country.
A hand to the needy!
In the line of their stay, with the conviction that small as well as large initiatives are important, the children from SOS Children’s Villages provided food and non-food assistance to the Missionaries of Charity orphanage run by Nuns of Mother Teresa of Calcutta in Kirundo.“Above all, God bless these children! It’s really a great joy for us. When children are growing up and taking such responsibilities, it’s good. May they continue to support others for it’s a sign of a Good Samaritan”, thanks nun John Lise.
It’s worth mentioning that SOS Children’s Villages supports a total of 1,553 children and young people through its alternative care. It also supports 6323 orphans and other vulnerable children living in 1645 biological families through family strengthening. This social organization has also emancipated 830 young people, including 421 graduates of public and private universities.