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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.

In the words of Evariste Ndikumana on behalf of our Batwa friends: "The farming and education projects in the three Kayanza villages is a long-term journey of increasing security, stability and wellbeing for the Batwa people which is only possible with your steady friendship. Your ongoing support makes it possible for Batwa to plan ahead for consistent harvests, grow stronger with access to nutritious food, increase knowledge with new educational levels, and improve health and well-being for their communities. We consider you the foundation of our progress."

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.

Highlights that continue to support and encourage the villagers:

  •  Adults having ID cards and children having birth certificates continue to play a huge part in acceptance by others and having rights.
  • Families are now able to feed their children year-round with a third planting/harvesting season and have hopes to market surplus at market to generate income.
  • School numbers continue to grow with 370 children now attending with uniforms and supplies provided.
  • Medical insurance cards have enabled villagers to access government health clinics for treatment and medication, improving quality of life.
  • Though most villagers still live in makeshift grass huts, there are now 19 brick homes in Gahombo with the hope of building more.

  • Supporting Burundi in 2022
    Posted: Jul 7, 2022
    Dear Friends, This is a time of great challenges in our world. But as we turn our mind and hearts to three small villages in Burundi we witness that hope…