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Categories: International Justice,

All Ministries > Burundi & the Batwa

About Burundi & the Batwa

Our Vision

To walk in partnership with the Batwa people in the villages of Gahombo, Ndava and Mwendo on their journey toward hope, empowerment, dignity, and long term sustainability. Our relationship-based model provides a way for all partners to share in the power of this life changing transformation.

FIVE YEAR PLAN (Fall 2015-Summer 2020)

  1. Agriculture for Food Provision:  Planting and harvesting for two or three growing seasons each year. Includes tools to work the soil, bags of seeds, manure for fertilizer and a farm trainer.  All villages now have their own land and no longer have to rent land.  “People are no longer dying from hunger or diseases related to malnutrition because they eat their own harvest and have better health.” – Evariste Ndikumana
  2. Education for the Children: All 240 school age children in the villages now have access to an education. Includes uniforms, school supplies and tuition fees for the school year.  A healthy birthrate and fee increases have caused the education budget to be stretched thing, however educated Batwa will help provide a better, more sustainable future for their people.

 

Story of the Batwa

The Batwa are an indigenous people group who make up 1% of the Burundian population. They lived in the rain forests as hunters and gatherers until they were driven out by the government who provided no place for them to go. They ended up living on barren lands, in cemeteries and city dumps. They were marginalized, looked down upon and treated like slaves. The Batwa had no voice, could not get jobs, access to medical care, education or other basic rights.

Our Partnership

First Presbyterian Bend is partnering with African Road, a Portland non-profit and Hope for Batwa Youth (ASSEJEBA) in Burundi to come alongside three Batwa villages in a journey of hope. Now all adults and children in the villages are recognized citizens of Burundi, having ID cards and birth certificates. As part of a 5 year plan launched in Fall 2015 villages are planting and harvesting crops to feed their families and children are now in school.  We have also been able to provide medical insurance cards to allow villagers to access government medical clinics.

LATEST NEWS & UPDATES

  •  Gahambo and Mwendo now own land in valleys where they are able to plant a third growing season.  Crops are being tested in these areas this summer, although more funding for seeds and fertilizer is needed to plant a full third season.
  • There have been great academic and social results for the Batwa children in school, with 50 new enrollments this year.  Due to an increase in children, but static funding, spending was reduced on shoes, backpacks and some follow-up costs so that all children could attend school.
  • There were 15 fewer deaths occurred this year, as compared to last, thanks to medical insurance cards and increased food provision.
  • The US embassy in Burundi in Burundi was inspired by our ID kit project and recently provided a grant to Evariste’s organization ASSEJEBA to bring ID cards to more Batwa villages in Burundi.
  • For more current updates and photos follow “Batwa Indigenous” on Facebook.