|Bujumbura, Burundi BFHR 2010|
Within one year from now, I look forward to the Burundi Fund for Hope and Restoration being on the ground and in fully in motion. As a member of the BFHR's Board of Directors, its been a slow process for the last 8 months as we have worked to coordinate with local agencies, refine our programming scope, and develop our fundraising processes. However the continuous efforts of the team to work toward enhancing education opportunities for the youth of this East African Nation are finally coming to fruition. I will be soon blogging much more on the status of this agency, as we are on the cusp of putting all the initial planning into action.
The mission of the Burundi Fund is to assist repatriated refugee children to access the education they deserve but cannot afford. Although primary schools are free in Burundi, secondary education often requires tuition ormany children cannot attend as they cannot pay the additional costs. Schools may be to far away, supplies, books, and school clothes are prohibitively expensive, or the family needs the child to stay home to assist with domestic duties, such the family business or as local labor. As a result of conflict and poverty, Burundi has a national literacy ranking of 150 out of 177 according to the United Nations Development Program.
|Burundi School Children BFHR, 2010|
The Burundi Fund specifically works to assist the needs of repatriated refugee youth within Burundi. After having lived in camps for as long as 15 years, and returning as strangers to their homeland, repatriated youth are among those with the greatest challenge to access opportunity within Burundi. The Burundi Fund addresses this problem by working to secure improved access and options to students of all ages with coordinated partnerships with local agencies and businesses so that this education may directly carry over into employment opportunities and expanded markets.
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More information about returning refugee youth to Burundi can be found in this UNICEF video.