Orphanages in Burundi
In recent times there are so many orphanages in different provinces of Burundi. An orphanage is not only seen as religious duty of caring for vulnerable and orphaned children by religious organizations and Christians but also seen as a necessity by social workers, philanthropists and NGOs. There are more than 800,000 orphaned children living in Burundi. Most of these children living in a country whose population is 9 million have either lost one parent or both in the country’s civil war that took place from 1993 to 2005.
In the year 1993 when the Civil war was on-going a woman known as Marguerite Barankitse popularly known as “Maggy” rescued 25 children and gave them hope for the future. On a single day (October 24, 1993) she witnessed the murder of over 70 people in Ruyigi Province of Burundi during the civil war between Hutu and Tutsi tribes in Burundi. The civil war which took place from 1993 to 2005 followed the country’s first democratic election since the country gained independence from Belgium in 1962.
Even though UNICEF defined an orphan as a child who has lost one or both parents, orphanages in Burundi care for children in five categories. There are children who have lost both parents to either AIDS pandemic or the civil war. There are children who have lost one parent having either the father or the mother. There are abandoned children which no one knows their parent or family member. There are also children withdrawn from the streets and the last category of children that can be found in orphanages all across Burundi are children that have both parents but the parents don’t have capacity to give adequate care and education to the children.
The Civil war, diseases and HIV/AIDS pandemic are the three main culprits that have made Burundi children have bleak future rendering many children orphaned. 120,000 of Children in Burundi have lost one or both parents to AIDS. Many of these children are left to fend for themselves until they are absorbed and cared for in orphanages. Life for Children in Burundi is indeed harsh as the war destroyed the fragile economy.
In Burundi few children go to school particularly those that are old enough to be enrolled in secondary schools. As at 2011, 283,000 primary school aged children are not enrolled in School. 58% of all children in Burundi suffer stunted growth because of poor diet. Even though, Burundi has 3.7 million children, 15,000 of them have AIDS and a total of 120,000 of the children are orphaned by AIDS as earlier stated.
At the moment, there is peace in Burundi. However, the unemployment rate is high andmany children are still seen in helpless situation all across the country. Most orphanages in Burundi responded to these problems by providing habitable places similar to family settings to care for Children and give them hope for the future. Orphanages sprang up in the nation after the 1993 genocide and they continue to increase in number ameliorating children poverty all across the nation.
Volunteer Opportunities at orphanages in Burundi
Volunteers assist in caring for orphans, vulnerable and abandoned children. They could also provide them with education and learning materials. Psychologists and trauma counselors are needed to help street children and children that had passed through traumatic experiences. Volunteers can care for children by spending time in discussion with them, showing them love, bathing them, assisting in cooking for them and dressing for some of them. Children are eager to learn English language in Burundi since the national language is French so volunteers can assist by teaching children English language and songs in English. Care-givers are available to help volunteers to have memorable and impactful moment with children in the orphanages.
For further information about volunteering in an orphanage in Burundi or in other volunteering activities in Burundi with our organization, please click here.