September 20, 2016
This behind the scenes work is possible thanks to a Global Rapid Response Fund
In April 2015, the African nation of Burundi descended into civil war. The announcement that President Pierre Nkurunziza was seeking a third presidential term triggered mass protests, followed by a subsequent failed coup. The situation quickly deteriorated, with widespread violence causing an estimated 70,000 people to flee into the neighbouring countries of Rwanda, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In addition to these, thousands of people became internally displaced as they escaped the capital Bujumbura, travelling to other cities and provinces without food or guaranteed shelter.
Urgent intervention was required to assist the refugees, and the Province of the Anglican Church of Burundi responded by submitting a formal request to the Anglican Communion, of which ABM is a member. Due to the kind donations supporters gave to the ABM Global Rapid Response fund, ABM was able to send $5000 to provide life-saving food, cooking materials, bedding, mosquito nets, soap, clothes, and cash grants for those in need. Specifically, the funding assisted 510 students who took shelter in the U.S Embassy and 264 business women who were affected by grenade attacks near the Bujumbura city market in May 2015.
Recently ABM received feedback from people who benefited from this assistance. Nkwirikiye is a mother of five children and lives in Gasenyi- Mutimbuzi commune one of the municipalities in the Province Bujumbura Rural.
She said, “My daily life was busy with a small street trading. Every morning I woke up early to fill my basket with a quantity of raw peanuts and cassava all for a capital of 10,000 Burundian francs (less than US$5).
“I then spent the whole day to walk in different districts of Bujumbura and sometimes in the city centre to meet people who like to nibble cassava and peanuts. This normally allowed me to have two meals a day and my five children did not lack anything to eat.”
Everything changed when Bujumbura sank in a political crisis since the end of last April. Since the protests Nkurikiye no longer left her home for selling her goods for fear of being a victim of the clashes. The neighbourhoods in which she used to sell goods were no longer accessible.
Nkurikiye said, “I lost my little capital, and my clients have fled and others are also affected by the crisis in their own way, but I have something important: faith and the courage to raise my head one day.”
For two months, she struggled to survive with her family and then Nkurikiye received the money from the Province of the Anglican Church of Burundi, through its emergency program of assisting people who have been affected by disaster. She has restarted her business and now she says that things have turned in a positive way.
Image: A woman, in similar circumstance to Nkurikiye, receives cash assistance from the Anglican Church of Burundi.