Things politically in Burundi are still difficult (since the refusal of the president to relinquish power in April 2015 as the constitution required) with relative calm underpinned by the threat of political and social upheaval at any point. Against this backdrop, the children at New Generation continue to demonstrate the reality of trying to live peacefully as a community.
The reality of the situation in the country is that prices are rising (especially for food) and nothing can be taken for granted, including whether schools will be open one day to the next. So running the project is hard and life is unpredictable for the children and adults at New Generation. Even physically changing money from New Generation’s US$ account to local Burundian francs is getting more and more costly as the government continues to exert more control on money exchange rates.
The children cared for by New Generation continue to come to the Bujumbura centre on a daily basis to receive food, take part in activities and be supported through their schooling. New short term accommodation blocks have been built and a new house has been rented to provide longer term support for some of the girls who are now looked after by New Generation (in addition to the existing boys). As an organisation that has worked with street children for many years, they know how much this crisis is affecting children in general and street children in particular. When everybody else is running back to their homes for shelter and protection from bullets, street children have no safe place to run to. They get caught up in clashes between the police and the protesters and struggle to find something to eat as most shops are closed and people have no money to give away.
So alongside providing for the physical needs of the children, New Generation has been promoting active non-violence among the youth in Burundi. Through different meetings and activities (often involving football), they have been able to speak to young people from different provinces, ethnic groups and political movements about healing and reconciliation.
Street Action are currently working alongside other partners to try to secure the long term security of the New Generation site in Bujumbura. Against this broader aim, we are also raising money for an expanded Outreach Programme, new Boy’s Accommodation, Schooling (including uniforms, books and new shoes for the 65 New Generation children who have just enrolled in the new academic year) and ongoing funds (which underpins all the work they do, including providing food, accommodation, schooling, counselling support and leadership training to over 100 children each month).
They are so grateful to all our supporters who continue to support them, not least providing food, shelter and access to schooling for these children through these politically and socially tough times.