Reconciliation of Refugees Returning from Exile.

by Innovations in Peacemaking Burundi
Reconciliation of Refugees Returning from Exile.
Savings and it gain sharing
Savings and it gain sharing

September 2023 narrative report

The September little by little campaign is from September 18 to 23 2023. Online donations up to $50 will be matched at 50%. Please give your donation during that week to benefit from the matching opportunity. Invite your family members and friends to donate for IPB project entitled: “Reconciliation of Refugees Returning from the Exile (49443).

Your donation has improved the Human Right Respect in Burundi and daily life of returnees as it contributed to their trauma healing, social cohesion and economic resilience through, among others, the Self-Help Group approach and other income generating activities.

A two days ‘nonviolent conflict manager was conducted on September 4 till 5, 2023. Thirty (30) participants among them 21 women and 9 men.

Some key success stories:


I’m a street business seller for more than ten years. I don’t have a specific item to invest in. items of investment change with the seasons. There is season for maize, tomatoes, fruits such as oranges, avocados, vegetables and so on.

Before attending the Self Help Group at IPB”, I was meeting serious problems to make competition with other street sellers as I didn’t have where to get a credit any time I needed it and at a rate I’m able to afford.

Since I became member of this SHG, we meet for savings and credit on a monthly basis. The day for meeting, a credit is granted for anyone who claiming for it. Learning about technics and tools of managing conflict nonviolently is an assurance of success in business, social cohesion and effective reintegration

Thank you for IPB and its donors


The workshop on nonviolent conflict management is the key for the effective reintegration in our community in general and home in particular. Before attending IPB’s SHG” I had to claim anything to my husband. My children and I were as beggars to my husband. Many times we were missing food for a whole day and our neighbors have been insulting us and accusing us all things that disappeared in our community. No one was giving respect or value to us since my husband was biting myself in front of my children and the neighbors.

Being member of “IPB’s SHG” changed the situation in our home. I and my children became people with human respect

Finally my husband too attended IPB’s SHG a year ago. I’m glad to learn about technics and tools of managing conflict nonviolently together with my husband



During the period of August, IPB met together 21 women and 9 men in a two days workshops on nonviolent conflict management. It conducted seven Self Help Groups (SHG) coaching each week.

Many thanks to GlobalGiving for his its contribution and our donors IPB’s peace activities

Elaborated by Elie Nahimana

A preparing session for sharing
A preparing session for sharing
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Participants follow the workshop with interest
Participants follow the workshop with interest
  1. Introduction

The quarter of September, October and November each year is a crucial period when Self Help Groups share what they have gained in each one’s savings.

It’s a period we expect to have some divergences when calculating each one’s yearly savings and its gain. Reason why IPB organize nonviolent conflict management as money affairs should create some misunderstandings within the group

A two day’s workshop on that was then conducted on August 15th and 16th, 2023 in favor of twenty six (26) members of one SHG, among them twenty four women (24) and two men (2).

IPB’s experience is that, when this workshop is dispensed before sharing, the group get opportunity to present each one’s amount of money to get during the workshop and decide how the haring will look like.  Some groups prefer to get a uniform to put on that day and a special celebration where they invite their spouse.

During this workshop other themes are introduced such as the “Economic opportunities analysis and the Social Cohesion”. Participants presented some ideas on what they plan to initiate to wide their income generation.

  1. Some key stories of success


  It’s now a whole year since I participated in the trauma healing basic workshop. I was unable to share my psychological situation. Day after day I felt a need to share my emotional feeling after going through what I had learnt about trauma, its causes, symptoms and consequences. I did it with people to whom I have confidence. The trauma symptoms disappeared one by one and I acknowledged that teachings we got were true.

Today I feel safe in me and I’m opened to share what I was taking as my secret for forever.  To follow these trainings on nonviolent conflict management, mostly learn the “win - win “process, the social cohesion and the economic opportunity analysis, are added values in my life


The workshop on nonviolent management, social cohesion and economic opportunity analysis are more benefit to me. It’s a good idea to have mainly the nonviolent conflict management some days before sharing our savings and their gains.

Some among us started to spread rumors saying that our money was already used for other aims and that we don’t expect to get it on the right time.

Meaning that the nonviolent conflict management workshop was more needed today and I appreciate the fact of showing what we are going to get next week as our savings ant it gain.

We are going to prepare for that and invite our spouse for that celebration. This is honor for us women, it’s an added value. We are able to say that “together we can” behind our husband


This training is real an act of effective reintegration for us coming recently from the refugee’s camp.

I appreciate positively to have these themes during this two days’ workshop is a deepening of the trauma healing workshop that introduced us in the Self Help Group.

To have the nonviolent conflict management workshop in the period before sharing our savings and gain is real an act of social cohesion and an assurance that our money will reach us by next week. It gives us an opportunity to plan for the next investment


This workshop on nonviolent conflict management will be organized and facilitated for seven Self Help Groups (SHG).

More thanks for IPB’s donors who  

Elaborated by Elie Nahimana

overview of the participants during the workshop
overview of the participants during the workshop
Testimony sharing period
Testimony sharing period
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IPB June 2023 narrative report By Icishatse Elie Rodrigue 1. Introduction At IPB, two workshops which dealt with trauma management and healing within small groups of people were conducted in the months of June 2023. The workshops took place on June 13th to 15th and 20th to 22nd, one following the other. Forty participants among them seven (7) males and thirty three (33) females were fully present. 2. Contextual background Like other societies in the global south, Burundi is a collective society that values family ties. With the poverty that keeps deepening, family ties become more and more a source of survival. So, anything that takes the lives of family members, either a war or a disease can quickly transformed itself in a traumatic event with severe psycho-social and economic consequences. In this report, we revisited stories of such separations of family members that precede trauma suffering and how HROC workshops contribute in creating a safe space where the traumatic events can be shared and the lives lost been remembered. 3. Key stories of success • Marie My husband went to Gitega and was killed and I did not get the news. Unfortunately, some strangers kept his body and looked for me. I finally was able to reach his body and we buried him. Around the same time, my mother passed away too and, unfortunately for her, we failed to bury her because it was during the war. The two simultaneous death wounded me and I am still grieved by them. Evangeline My mother passed away but before that she has insisted that I should show her a grandchild. Unfortunately, she passed away before I got one. Each time I remember this, I feel a lot of pain. • Anne Last January, I lost my elder sister and I was grief that she did not see my first born. I had always taken care of her babies when she was out working and it has been a wish from her to see and take care of my children in return. But, she passed away before I got them. Also, I am grieved that we are no longer together to help our mother who is old and needs someone to take care of her. Now that I have my own kids and those of my late elder sister to take care of, I am unable to fully commit myself to my mother and it pains me. Since I learnt about trauma symptoms, I saw that I need trauma healing. Reason why I decided to share this for the first time. I will continue sharing it with facilitators and I’m glad that majority of them are women 4. Conclusion There is no doubt that the separation of families via man-made reasons especially war leave wounds and despair among remaining family members. The promises and wishes unmet and the difficult that follow such deaths make the healing process difficult. Participants in HROC workshops have an opportunity to come together, learn about trauma management and building trust among themselves. Through exercises of remembering and commemoration, participants can see their beloved ones valued and their stories shared. Majority of them will continue to be followed through the Self Help Groups. July 16th, 2023

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Dear Donors,

The April little by little campaign is from April 3rd -7th. Online donations up to $50 will be matched at 50%. Please give your donation during that week to benefit from the matching opportunity. Invite your family members and friends to donate for IPB project entitled: “Reconciliation of Refugees Returning from the Exile (49443).

Your donation has improved the Human Right Respect in Burundi and daily life of returnees as it contributed to their trauma healing, social cohesion and economic resilience through, among others, the Self-Help Group approach and other income generating activities.

The key success stories:


My name is Odette, I was born and raised in Muramvya Province. I dropped out of school in primary sixth. I, then, came to the capital city of Bujumbura to look for a better life. I got married to a man and now I have five children. Like many women, I never share the financial life of my home with my husband who works full time.  He does not allow me to participate into the management of his salary and other family possessions. I joined a self-help group (SHG) run by IPB by the end of 2020. My major target was to be able to generate some money monthly. I then took a loan from the SHG and in agreement with my husband, I built a small house on the tiny plot of land located in front of the main house. This house is now rented by one family that pays 40 000 BIF every month. The money has boasted the financial situation of our family.


I got to accept myself when I understood that even though I am a girl, there is something I am best at a boy is not good at. Before, I believed that I was able of nothing. This kind of belief matched with what the society and my family taught me. At home, I was mistreated because I was the only girl among five brothers. Whatever they told me at home, they tried hard to show me that I am nothing and I am able of nothing constructive. Now, I understood and I even experienced that I am a child like others in the family. I have something I am good at that many boys aren’t. I understand that I existed so that we may complete each other.



I want to share with two initiatives I personally undertook as a way of exploiting the economic opportunities. Firstly, I started a jewelry shop which is located in Bwiza the 4th avenue number 25 near the Saint Thomas Clinic. It is my own shop. Secondly, I started an association named in French “Association des Jeunes Leaders pour le Développement (AJLD).  I brought together 22 persons who are now officially the members of the association. Among other activities of the association, we have a department of saving and credits. That’s all, thank you!

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The photo illustrates a way a rebuilding hope
The photo illustrates a way a rebuilding hope


  1.        Introduction

Two (2) Healing and Rebuilding Our Community basic workshops were conducted on February 13th to 15th and from 20th to 22nd, 2023 respectively.  40 adult participants including two men and thirty eight women and 9 kids who came with their mothers. They were mainly former returnees from exile and street sellers who lost their jobs as a result of new governmental regulations[1] or lack of capital.

 2. The purpose of the workshops         

Healing and Rebuilding Our Communities (HROC) workshops give an opportunity and platform for people to learn about trauma and start their healing journey. Participants are led both backward and forward: Backward to trace back the reason behind the symptoms of trauma that they might be living with and forward to equip them with practical trauma management and preventive measures. At the completion of the two workshops, many of the participants expressed grieving for the loss of their parents and education opportunities as detailed in the following sections. 

3. Some key stories of success 

  • Joselyne

Two months before the completion of secondary school, the political crisis of 2015 erupted, and unrest between protestors and the police happened near our school. Many of my classmates fled to Tanzania but I sheltered myself in the upcountry. Without parents capable to support me, I failed to regain school. My father passed away long before. That’s how I missed a diploma while I was almost finishing my studies. I had no other choice than to be married. I have now three kids and my financial situation does not even allow me to present myself at school in proper clothes.

  • Alexine

I lost my parents when I was still young. They were both killed in 1993 because of their ethnic affiliation. Then, I left home for Bujumbura. I got married to a man who was murdered 12 years ago. I’ve never known who killed him and why. He left me with three kids. I got heartbroken due to many things that happened to me.  This basic workshop was an opportunity to learn more about my psychological situation and ways of recovering for the trauma caused by my past.

  • Jeanine

After the death of my father, my mother took me out of school. She brought me to the city of Bujumbura. She then got married to another man who mistreated me. Due to the abuses, I decided to flee to Tanzania. Failing to sustain myself there, I came back home and find that my mother had passed away. My childhood life was really difficult. In addition, I was grieved by the death of my son. He got in a car accident and immediately passed away. Though many years have flown by now, I still vividly remember the scene.

  • Charlotte

I lost both of my parents when I was still young. Thus, I did not pursue formal education even though I really wanted to. This one has really saddened me.

5. Conclusion 

War destroys the socio-fabric of societies. And, in the context of Burundi, the death of both or one of the parents has severe consequences on the survival of children afterward. Mainly the death of fathers affects the development of children, especially in relation to pursuing formal education.. After dropping out, they become vulnerable to other harms such as forced marriage, rape, extreme poverty, and so on. Hence, there is a need for healing from past losses. As many of participants failed to share their whole history due to their strong emotions, a follow up is planned in a period of one month to accompany them. They are welcomed to visit on of the facilitator at the office whenever they will feel able to share their testimony. 

This is reported by ICISHATSE E. Rodrigue

Coordinator and facilitator’s lead





[1] The government has recently banned the selling of fried maize on the street for instance. 

Group photo for participants
Group photo for participants
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Organization Information

Innovations in Peacemaking Burundi

Location: Bujumbura - Burundi
Project Leader:
Elie Nahimana
Bujumbura , Burundi
$5,970 raised of $10,000 goal
175 donations
$4,030 to go
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