Reconciling Youth and Police in Bujumbura, Burundi

by Innovations in Peacemaking Burundi
Reconciling Youth and Police in Bujumbura, Burundi
Reconciling Youth and Police in Bujumbura, Burundi
Reconciling Youth and Police in Bujumbura, Burundi
Reconciling Youth and Police in Bujumbura, Burundi
Reconciling Youth and Police in Bujumbura, Burundi
Reconciling Youth and Police in Bujumbura, Burundi
Reconciling Youth and Police in Bujumbura, Burundi
Reconciling Youth and Police in Bujumbura, Burundi
Reconciling Youth and Police in Bujumbura, Burundi
Reconciling Youth and Police in Bujumbura, Burundi
Reconciling Youth and Police in Bujumbura, Burundi
Reconciling Youth and Police in Bujumbura, Burundi
Reconciling Youth and Police in Bujumbura, Burundi
Reconciling Youth and Police in Bujumbura, Burundi
Participants in a HROC basic workshop.
Participants in a HROC basic workshop.

Next Wednesday, July 15, starting at 9:00 AM eastern daylight time, GlobalGiving will be conducing a bonus day for all donations between $100 and $1000. This would be an excellent day to donate to Innovations in Peacemaking -- Burundi.


Today’s Burundi is marked by the 2020 election period and the new COVID 19 pandemic having a negative impact onthe  health situation and social and economic conditions.. In managing both situations, Burundi decided to .apply all measures to protect population against the Covid 19 excepting the national confinement. The population is continuing going on with its daily activities. Public services meeting a considerable number of people such as local market, schools, churches and elections campaigns still ongoing too. To contribute to this current context, IPB is continuing peace activities in respecting the social distancings and the hands washing requirements. It’s an opportunity for IPB to sensitize to the population on the measures to respect as given by the Minister of Health.

Brief summary

Three activities were performed during this quarter; five HROC basic workshops, (ii) one HROC basic workshop with university students,  (iii) one HROC  Follow up  with secondary school students.

 Activities Description

Five (5) HROC basic workshops.

Fifteen HROC facilitators facilitated five three days HROC basic workshops in five targeted provinces in framework of thei project entitled "Contributing to violence prevention and civilians protection before, during and after the 2020 elections in Burundi."

This project aims at engaging youth and local authorities in trust building and prevention of violence through trauma healing workshops and establishing EWER mechanisms in five target provinces including: Bujumbura Rural, Bujumbura Mayorship, Bubanza, Cibitoke and Makamba. Twenty five (25) participants attended from each province forming one hundred twenty five (125) participants in total.

Some testimonies


I am coming from a family of nine children. I am the last born and only one of my brothers and I are albinos. At eight years old my father registered me at primary school. I felt very glad of starting my intellectual training; however, this lasted for a short time due to the fact that from the first day in my primary school up to now in university, I have been marginalized because I am an albino. I was always rejected by my classmates. Some of them didn’t want even to approach, talk or play with me without any reason. Due to that, before the trauma healing workshop, I was always having a feeling of guiltiness, fear and shame, anxiety, sleeping difficulties, lack of appetite and a feeling of isolation. After receiving the teachings of HROC and sessions of listening, everything changed and I started a process of healing. Today things changed in me since I was reintegrated and considered by organization and I am feeling personality as other people and I’m confident to myself of my capacity to contribute for good coexistence in Burundi. I am engaged to work hard in order to contribute in fighting against this plague which is trauma.


What wounded me mostly was the fact that I’m accused of being a curse. This was developed since my first fiancé died twenty days before our marriage. All my community and neighbors didn’t want to accept that no complicity I have played in that death. It took long time to get a new fiancé. Finally I got new one and got married to him. Unfortunately, our oldest son fell down in a septic fosse and died too. Today I leave a life of someone who lost where to flee and I don’t know what to do. What is for sure is that the family didn’t expect something good coming from and I have developed the same thinking from them. As consequences of this situation I live in, I developed isolation, fear of being killed one day and never mind about community wellbeing and other trauma symptoms from those we come to learn.

What is good for me is to understanding that I’m traumatized and learn ways to overcome from it. Other special thing for me is to learn that life must continue after traumatic experiences. It was good also to getting opportunity to hear from other’s traumatic experience which is comparable or very touching from mine  I commit to care for community wellbeing mostly the 2020 election to be peaceful once in Burundi history. More thanks.

HROC Follow up

IPB conducted a HROC follow up with secondary school students on April 14 th, 2020. Twelve students participated including 9 females and 3 males. Following are some testimonies.


Before attending the HROC basic workshop, I was always frustrated by everything, even the simple ones since I lost my mother. This went on diminishing after the three days basic workshop.  I didn’t want to hear someone saying the word "mother". Whenever it happened, I had to isolate myself from that place for many hours.  I was unable to listen to anybody. If there are questions to respond to, I must insult this person or cry.

Following teachings I got from the workshop things changed day by day after accepting that my mother died and those who still having them could miss them as I did. It’s good to have this follow up to continue expanding my healing. I took time to assist those living under the same situation as I did before attending HROC program.


I lost my father when I was still a little girl of four years. He loved me and I loved him too. This was aggravated by the fact that he was killed by a family member. It was difficult for me to understand and accept this act in my inner heart. I grew very with a heavy anger toward the rest of my extended family and I had developed idea of revenging myself whenever I could have means to do it.   

Since I attended the HROC basic workshop, I understood that I was traumatized and that all bad things I was planning was the consequences of it. That was forbidding me to build my future life which was a must.  I had difficulties to assimilate my studies. Today things changed because I do have good memory and I continue to practice what I learnt and I know that life must continue after traumatic experiences. I’m thankful for IPB that accepted me to follow this program.


Since I lost my father, I grew up without joy. I didn’t support to hear a child calling his father. I felt to understand and accept that I had no father. I expected always to meet him one day. During the three days’ basic workshop, I listened with more to other student who are orphan of father as I was and finally I accepted that I lost him and that I will not meet him any more. After that I felt joy coming as I saw other laughing whenever it’s needed. I created opportunities of joy with my peers and I succeeded. These teachings came the right time on my side. I’m thankful for that and I’m sensitizing them when other orphans asked me where I got the joy I do have and how I changed. I wish to see many young students getting this teaching

HROC basic workshop with universities

IPB conducted a three days’ HROC basic workshop with universities on April 15 till 17, 2020 at IPB-HROC compound. Twenty participants were there including 14 males and 6 females.

The engagement of youth in trust building and prevention of violence through trauma healing workshops was the key.

The COVID 19 situation and the way to fight against it was also discussed too. Following are some testimonies:


What hurt me a lot is the death of my friend killed when we were together at a bar. A young man that we didn’t know up to today came and told him, “Lie down”. My friend respected and the man told me, “Leave here without looking back”. I left but with huge fear. Arriving very far, I called the police to letting them know everything that happened. The police tried its best in order to reach very quickly at the place. Unfortunately, they found there a dead body laying on ground. I am feeling bad; I still remember everything we were doing together. His family told me that I was one of the wrongdoers. However, my father witnesses that I was his best friend.  That touched me a lot. I still don’t believe that I will find another friend like him. After following the trauma healing workshop and got time to share about my traumatic experience. I entered a process of healing and I felt at easy. This rebuilt in me trust in the community.


I was traumatized by the death of my mother. I grew up with my father alone. After some years, my old brother adopted me as a single man. Later on, he got married and told his wife, “this is my young sister Evelyne I’m her father and mother”. The wife didn’t accept that. After some years, she asked me to go back at my parents’ home by telling me that she was not my mother. I had lived a difficult life whenever my brother was not at home. She refused to give me something to eat. I remember some days when I passed the whole night outside of the house with great fear. After some days, I decided to get married in order of leaving my sister in law’s house. This didn’t give me a smooth daily life after developing isolation and other trauma symptoms and its after effects or consequences.

After following HROC basic workshop I come to know what is trauma, its consequences and the way of overcoming from it.  .

More thanks to IPB-HROC that organized this workshop. I wish I should benefit other workshops and I advocate a similar workshop in all province of our country.

Facilitator conducing HROC workshop.
Facilitator conducing HROC workshop.
Follow up workshop participants.
Follow up workshop participants.
University students at HROC workshop.
University students at HROC workshop.
Workshop session with university students.
Workshop session with university students.
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Participants in HROC Workshop
Participants in HROC Workshop

January Report:

A 3 days’ HROC basic workshops was conducted at Lycée Municipal Musaga on February 17 till 19, 2020. Twenty students participated including 10 girls and 10 boys. The first days focused on trauma comprehension, the second one, on trust building when the third one was focused on the ways of recovering from i

This HROC approach builds a strong sense of community among group members, instills a new confidence in a wounded self, and ensures that the lessons learned are steeped in the context of the particular conflict and the post-conflict recovery process.

At the ending session of the workshop, testimonies on trauma experiences were shared including the following:


I was seriously wounded by my father who refused to recognize me in parenthood. I was born from an illegal marriage as my mother got pregnant when she was still young lady living at her parental home and my father refused to recognize me as his child. We lived the same hill with my father and we were crossing each other mostly each day and had never greeted me by the way or met me at home. I was once more shocked when my mother told me that the day she gave birth to me, she went to my father to  asking for money so that she could buy clothes and the other needs of a baby and when  giving this money, he threw 5000BFI on the ground refusing to handle this very little hand in hand. It was too shocking for me when she told me what happened to her. Until now, if I see my father, I hear nostalgia in my heart. Sometimes I cry. But God comforted me because I have now a mercifulness person who helps me, who stays very close from time to time. What can hurt me does not fail, but she tried to console me to make me forget the problems that I encountered. She helps me without waiting for the reward because my mother is indigent. After the workshop, I feel somehow released I hope the trauma I went through will finish little by little.


What traumatized me was the death of my father that happened when I was in high school managed by nuns and we were staying there.  When my family members came to announce me to about this death, it seemed as dream as my father didn’t get sick at all. He was poisoned one evening and died the same night. After investigation we learnt that he had spent his last time with the communal administrator who served drinks in a cabaret and that drink was mixed with acid.  What made me mourn is the way the administrator who is the perpetrator of my father’s death continued to aggravate the life conditions of our family. When I went home to claim for an attestation of the orphanage, instead of giving me this certificate, he sent me to the director of the school where I studied. Thank God, the director gave me this certificate. As this certificate must be accompanied by an attestation of indigence signed by the communal administrator to allowing me to study for free.  The administrator refused to sign it saying that orphans are those who don’t have  their own house and miss what to eat.

What shocked me was that we missed our father and the administrator refused to give us the indigent's certificate. We should notice that the communal administrator is a neighbor living very close to us. He knows that my father died and that my mother is no longer employed while she has 5 children who are still in high school and three of them are in boarding schools. The fact of missing the indigent’s certificate forced me to leave the boarding school for a school where I must live at home as we can’t afford a school where I had to stay there and be taken care there as this cost more school fees. In short, my mourning is that I missed my father and the people who could be next to us.  It's them who traumatized us. Today my mother is encountering though difficulties to pay for school fees and the administrator refused to give us certificates of the indigent which could allow us to study for free without any charge.  Despite what happened and the current conditions caused unjustly by the communal administrator I study. So the HROC basic workshop we attended was very beneficial to me. It helps understand my psychological state and the way to overcome the trauma I underwent. I will continue assisting myself and assist my family members using the little thing I keep in me.

I wish HROC should conduct follow up and other needed training for young who underwent crisis.


What traumatized me was the death of my mother. She died when I was still a very little boy and one day I was curious to know where she is. I took decision to asking my dad and he told me that she died. I was touched because if I see other children with their mothers, I feel furious because I did not have the chance to have my mother. My father was not able to help us with my older brothers and sisters and this have impacted our life. We use to fail at school and we have some symptoms of trauma as we come to learn them and their consequences too.  So I am very happy to have this training because the pain that I had in my heart is diminished because I found that it is due to the traumatic experiences we underwent which made us live the current situation we are in both my father and my brothers and sisters. And I hope that life will continue despite the problems experienced. Now I know my situation and what to do to overcome it.

Thank you IPB/HROC


I lost my father when I was still in my mother’s womb. When I discovered that we don’t have a father in our home, I asked to my mother where my father is. She tried to escape on responding straight to my question by showing me his photos. She got fear to tell me the all truth. I continue on asking where my father is. She met difficulties to tell me the truth but finally one day she told that my father was assassinated by unknown people. I accepted this but there were still with others questions to know the family members as we were in RD Congo. I don’t know if my father had brothers or sisters and this is hurtful when you don’t know from what paternal family you come from.  It’s very tough, but to attend this HROC basic workshop is a new foundation of my life since I got chance to listen to different traumatic experiences others are undergoing in. Finally I come to understand that I’m not alone in difficulties. I fell calm and accept my psychological condition. More than a half of participants are orphans and my heart is a little bite released. I will continue assisting myself and I believe that my healing will continue expanding itself.

More thanks for donors

On behalf of IPB/HROC


February Report:

Three activities were performed during this month of February 2020 including one Peace dialogue follow up, one capacity building and two project proposals.


IPB - HROC in collaboration with Buterere Peace and Democracy Group (PDG) conducted peace dialogues in Buterere zone following the 2015 elections crisis in Bujumbura. These peace dialogues aimed at improving collaboration between locally elected Quarter Heads from the ruling party and opposition on one hand and on another hand the peaceful coexistence of political parties opposed to the 3rd tem of the president.

As result, they improved peaceful coexistence between political parties opposed to the 3rd tem of the president and thus the protest against the candidacy of the president and the consecutive political violence. Today in this zone, the violence between the political party members in conflict stopped and they cohabit in a mutual respect due to the communication established at community level and at the zone level. This made it possible for them to sit together in joint meeting to discuss what caused them trauma and how to overcome their frustration.

Youth who were known to be more active actors in the conflict raised their awareness of the influence of their behavior on their life and that of the community. They know their role as peace makers, especially during this last period when they  were actors and victims of conflict on both the opposition and in ruling party and its allies. Peace dialogues improved their conscious on their role and ways to contribute to the safer communities as a precondition for community development and the wellbeing that youth aspire to when participating in political claims.

When we are approaching the coming 2020 elections, IPB-HROC conducted a HROC follow up on February 23, 2020 to awaken representatives of Buterere community mind including that of the Peace and Democracy Group members to stand firm on each one’s role to keep peaceful coexistence as before and inspire other zones forming Bujumbura Mayorship as they did during the  2015  election crisis.

During the follow up, PDG’s members made a review of what they learnt during the HROC workshop as the photo aside illustrates

40 participants were  there includes 6 police representatives, 15 females and 21 males. Following are testimonies collected during this HROC follow up


I’m a PDG’s member and a Healing Companion. During our activities of accompanying traumatized people within our communities, I did a great thing with my little sister who didn’t find any happiness before. I saw her overtime crying about her husband. She asked me why her husband was maltreating her. I explained to her that she needs to find out if her husband is the one without good faith or if she is the author of what was happening. I showed to her how trauma affects the person doing bad things. In addition, I showed her the causes and consequences of trauma and how to heal from it. After some days, she asked me where I learned what I shared to her. Then, she shared with me a testimony on how she found herself the author of all the bad things happening in her family. Today, she is living in positive ambience with her husband and with the whole family after changing all bad behavior she was expressing without knowing them because the trauma she was living under.


Since 2010 election period, HROC program introduced the Buterere PDG in Buterere. We were 18 active members. Little by little some members left due to election crisis happening in 2010 and mainly in 2015. Some by leaving the area when others were caused by fear of their security. Today 10 of them remained active and we are in good collaboration with local authorities. We continue to be IPB-HROC representatives or focal points, dealing mainly with trauma healing as community healing companions, nonviolent conflict managers and social cohesion advises.

We appreciate how far we are in sensitizing peaceful coexistence mainly by approaching new security agent who are periodically deployed in our zone. The HROC program workshop and peaceful conflict management is one of the strategy used to reintegrate them in our peace activities and way of showing who we are in matter of peace in our zone. It’s through sharing our testimonies that the confidence between security agent and civilians become a reality.


First of all I’m a Mutwa who got the chance to be part of HROC Program since 2010 election period. I’m one of the ten Buterere PGD’s member until today. I’m also a  HROC facilitator and community healing companion. Before attending 2015 HROC training, I was a man traumatized by fear and lost all trust from my friends, and ignored others. I didn’t have any vision for the future. All these were the result of the mistrust towards Hutus and Tutsis who always pointed they fingers saying: you, “Batwa“ are useless and ignorant. This was a kind of brainwashing directed towards us. After attending IPB-HROC peace activities I understood how what we went through in Burundi affected us and we were living under tough consequences of trauma and violence was one of them. I got chance to recover from it and started to build a future vision built on peace as a solid foundation.

This meeting come to to refresh what we have so far leant and become an awakener session to prepare ourselves for working towards 2020 peaceful elections.


I’m one of the security agents recently sent to secure Buterere zone. It’s my first time to hear about HROC program and its contribution towards peaceful coexistence. In remembrance of what happened in Bujumbura during the 2015 election in matter of violence, I didn’t know what made people in Buterere to be the first one in restoring within its different quarters. I come to learn that the collaboration between civilians, local authorities and security agents made it possible to meeting together whenever needed and discussed on daily peace issues. My conviction is that should continue in the same ways.

My recommendation is to have a complete workshop for new policemen in charge of securing Buterere zone.


On February 23-29, 2020 Caritas and Hervé, both trauma healing  facilitators attended HROC advanced training at HROC Musanze center in Rwanda.


The month of February was characterized by writing 2 proposal projects, one for Catholic Relief Services and one for Quaker Service Norway. Both projects were approved for a period of six months. The one with CRS starts in March while that of QSN will starts in April 2020


We give more thanks to the donors who donated for these peace activities.

Reported by Elie Nahimana

IPB-HROC leader



Particpants in Peace and Democracy Group session.
Particpants in Peace and Democracy Group session.
Buterere Peace and Democracy Group members.
Buterere Peace and Democracy Group members.
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Participants at HROC Basic Workshops
Participants at HROC Basic Workshops

2019 Donations to Innovations in Peacemaking — Burundi: In 2019 thirty donors contributed a total of $3005.80 through GlobalGiving to IPB.


November HROC workshop:

A three-day HROC basic workshops was conducted at Lycée Municipal Gihosha on November 18 till 20, 2019. Twenty students participated including 11 girls and 9 boys. The first day focused on trauma comprehension such as its definition, causes, symptoms and consequences. The second one was on trust building while the third one focused on the ways of recovering from trauma with some practices.

This basic workshop is a cornerstone in a larger program designed to build community capacity to respond to wide-spread trauma and to strengthen inter- connections and reduce isolation. It introduces participants to the concept of trauma, build a sense of trust and community within the workshop, and facilitate initial expression of grief and mourning. It also introduces stages of a healing process and concrete strategies for dealing with intense anger.

During the 3 days workshop, HROC facilitators invite participants to discover their own existing knowledge and their own inner wisdom about how to heal and how to help others. This HROC approach builds a strong sense of community among group members, instills a new confidence in a wounded self, and ensures that the lessons learned are steeped in the context of the particular conflict and the post-conflict recovery process.

At the ending session of the workshop, testimonies on trauma experiences were shared including the following:


This is something that traumatized me: I lost my mother when I was 5 years old. That day, we were in a vehicle and we were coming from Ngozi going to Bujumbura. On the way, we experienced a car accident. My mother passed away at the place while I became unconscious until I woke up in the hospital. When I was still under medical treatment, they refused to tell me that my mum has passed even though I insisted to know why she was not coming to comfort me during my time of tough pain I was passing through. It’s when I left the hospital and reached home with nostalgia and sentimental emotions to meet my mum that they started to calm me down and finally told me that she passed away in the accident.   This chocked me since I was still very young and I thought how I could live without her. I didn’t have the right image as I didn’t participate to her funeral ceremonies. The death of my mother had touched me a lot at the point I started to isolate myself from those having their mums alive. I didn’t want to hear someone pronouncing the word “mum / mother”. It was like pointing a knife in my heart and quickly I had to move far from the place with tears in my eyes.  I have a weak capacity to memorize my notes and forgetting quickly the few I was able to take on my mind. I was unable to share this situation. After the 3 days workshop, I feel a little bit released. I believe that I will get full healing in the future.

Thanks for having accepted me in these teachings since they will help me healing from my trauma.

December HROC Follow-up Day.

A one-day HROC Follow-up is a very important step within the HROC program as it offers an opportunity to meet together representatives from different identity groups with opposite view of the community context. This is held six months after a 3 days basic workshop. During the Follow-up day, all participants are aware about trauma healing and its consequences and ready to share their own trauma experiences freely. It’s also an opportunity for those who failed to express themselves during the basic workshop to afford it as a way of expanding their healing.

On December 6th, 2019, a one day HROC Follow-up session was organized at Lycée Municipal de CIBITOKE with 60 students including 31 girls and 29 boys as participants.  This peace activity session remindedthe participants what is trauma, its definition, its causes and consequences starting with Johari’s exercise. Then, the facilitators asked students/participants to share about what they learnt mostly during the three days of HROC basic workshop that they participated in six months ago. Afterwards the students got an opportunity of sharing testimonies with regard to the transformation experienced after attending the workshop.

At the end of the session, HROC facilitators handed them a three days attendance certification to the HROC basic workshop as you can see on the group photo.

Following is a testimony chosen among others shared during that HROC follow-up day.


I live here in CIBITOKE at the 9th avenue. I am going to share with you the life i carried out before the teachings of HROC and after the teachings. My parents divorced when I was still very young. I always asked myself why my parents were not living together. I grew up with a big wound because of this parent decision. I had so much hatred towards other children and I could even tell them that I couldn’t play with them as they had parents who lived together and they were well with their families while I had never got an opportunity of living with my parents. I isolated myself from others. Whenever I asked my mother why she was not living together with my father, she couldn’t answer me and my father as well couldn’t find any word to tell me. Once the holidays came up, I asked myself many questions inside my heart. I lost the emotional balance. I asked myself why God created me as such. I felt as if the whole world was on my small head. I, really, hated my parents. I considered them as dead livings.

Now, I thank HROC together with all its facilitators who became friends of mine. After the 3 days’ HROC basic workshop, I took an initiative of talking to my parents. I shared with them about HROC and I forgave them to all what they did to me. They also forgave each other. Apart from that, I’m the class representative at my school. Before, I was not able to handle issues of new comers at our school. Today, due to the teachings of HROC basic workshop, I learnt good notions. For instance using only active listening, I’m able to know problems faced by new comers and caused by other students. I am healed and I must heal others. I thank you very much!

Participants at Follow-up day with certificates.
Participants at Follow-up day with certificates.
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A group photo after the peace dialogue.
A group photo after the peace dialogue.


The violence between the police and youth de 2015 demonstrated how much the cycle of violence and revenge still going on. When Burundi is approaching the 2020 election, IPB is continuing organizing dialogues for mutual tolerance, good coexistence and reconciliation for youth in their diversity as a process of breaking it little by little creating a future generation that is healed from trauma, mastering the peaceful management and responsible leadership”.

For this end, IPB continue to organizing a three days’ peace dialogue with a group of young universities attending the psychology option at Burundi University on October 10 till 12, 2019. Twenty (20) students were present among them 10 females and 10 males.

Following are some testimonies from the basic workshop


I was hurt inside my heart by a problem which led me to a suicide attempt. I loved a boy and I really had trust towards him. He also loved me. After 5 years, I got pregnant and when I presented the news to him, he refused categorically. He didn’t recognize the pregnancy as his. He was living with his brother to whom I told the news and he informed it to his parents. Suddenly, the parents reacted by chasing out my boyfriend during the night. That night, he stayed at his friend. After some days, my parents visited the parents of him in order to discuss about the situation of their children as they knew well about our relationship for long time. The parents forced him to accept the pregnancy but in reality he didn’t because he never took care of the new born. Up to now, I don’t have any desire of boys. I thank God because my parent forgave me.


I lost my father when I was 3 years old. My mother became a widow of 4 children. My uncle wanted to have hidden sexual relations with my brave mother who refused categorically. She registered us at school but school fees were difficult to find. Days went on and my Aunt accepted to pay for our education. My Aunt promised to send me abroad for further studies if I succeed the national exam. I studied with assiduity in order to win the bet and I received more and more satisfying results in the class. Some days after the national exam, my Aunt passed away while i lived at his home. I was chocked a lot up to the extent I wanted that my life stopped. At the same time, I got marks to enter good high school and unfortunately, I went there with a lot of stress in my head and heart because I hadn’t anyone else to buy for me whatever I want for school. All those things circulated inside my mind continuously. Since that day, I never got a person to come at my rescue and to provide for my needs. I had to live a miserable life which worsens day by day. I completed my secondary school and I didn’t know how to search a job because I didn’t know what to do. A brave woman searched funds so that i could continue my university studies. Unfortunately, I was not proud of my life at that moment. I always doubt the death of my Aunt because she was always present in my mind. Always thinking that if she was still alive my life would have a sense and be better than today. I would never miss school fees and other elementary needs as other students. Sometimes i doubt even at my existence. Please, pray for me so that my heart is illuminated of joy as other youth and especially, so that God will provide funds for my studies because I can stop them at any time.

I’m thankful for attending this workshop and learn about trauma and its consequences and ways of recovering from it. I will continue to assist myself and get full healing.


I was born in a family of 6 children and I am the last born. My mother passed away at my birth delivery. I grew up with my old sisters and my stepmother. In fact, after the death of my mother, my father married another woman who was, actually, his girlfriend even when my mother was still alive. She is the one who gave poison to my dear mother so that she may replace her. I grew up in difficult conditions but I thank God for everything. I knew that history from my old sisters. Since then, I hated my father because he is the one who caused the death of my mother. My paternal affection left me and I hate every male thinking all men are as my father. Surely, my father is the one who caused my wounds by taking from me the affection of my mother. He married a woman who poisoned my mother. Thus, I don’t have feelings towards men even though I am now a mature person because, for me, all men are bad. They don’t have any true love for women.

During three days ‘workshop, I find myself traumatized with a series of trauma symptoms. I’m glad to learn about trauma and the ways of recovering from it. I’m going to continue sharing about suffering and pains.

I’m thankful for this workshop


During the crisis, wrongdoers attacked our village. Together with my parents and the grandmother, I hurried up and run away. Unfortunately, we met the wrongdoers. They asked us to kneel down. They tied with a rope my father and asked my mother together with my grandmother to find sec grasses to burning them. Suddenly, the wrongdoers saw other people from our village running away. They run after them. At that time, my father broke the rope slipped on him and asked my mother to put me on her back and then, we run away. The wrongdoers turn back and run behind us. I failed down from the back of my mother but my mother didn’t stopped. My grandmother tried to raise me but she was arrested by them. They automatically killed her by cutting her into pieces: they put the arms and legs aside and they put the head on a tree. I saw everything and I cried hard.

They started to disagreed over me: some wanted to kill me as soon as possible and others want to kill me later, after arresting my mother. Finally, they got an agreement: they dig a hole and put inside. Then, after covering me with the ground, they left. My mother, who was hiding herself nearby came and took away the ground and drag me out of the hole. She was traumatized and crying as she also saw everything that happened to my grandmother. After one day, we went back home and we found dead bodies of some relatives and burned houses. We also found that they stole our cows and every precious good we had. From that time, we lived a misery life: we couldn’t sleep well as our house was burned and we had no clothes to wear. I was full of sorrow.

Whenever I speak out what I passed through, I got very angry. My sorrow is fueled whenever I met those people who killed my relatives. My family and friends helped me a lot. Now, I am still angry but hopeful as I am growing up.

Many thank for IPB and its donors.



Workshop session
Workshop session
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A group photo with certificate of attendance.
A group photo with certificate of attendance.


Burundi is approaching the 2020 elections campaign period. Knowing that 1959 Democratic elections in Burundi are so far associated with the fear of political violence and  tragic events. They started with the assassination of the national hero in 1961, the prince Louis Rwagasore and went on with that of the hero of democracy, President Ndadaye Melchior in 1993. The consequences of these two assassinations remain blocked in the memories of Burundi and are part of the most unforgettable events within Burundian. Very recently in 2015 violence related to elections rose once again. All these were due to involvement following the manipulation of young people in all atrocities that happened. In this way, Burundian conflict has complicated itself days after days leading up to the inter-ethnic massacres between Hutu and Tutsi who recognized themselves as brothers and sisters before.   

To raise awareness of the particularity of election violence, empowering groups with the knowledge to prevent and mitigate violent incidents is an important thing today starting by the healing from the trauma caused by the past.

For this reason, a HROC basic workshop was conducted for university students learning about psychology to equip them with knowledge that will lead to change them and contribute on changing others too. This workshop was held on August 8-10, 2019



I was born in a lovely family where my father wa always offering a care. He always took me at nusery school and came to take me back at home. He gave me everthing I was in need of such as breads, clothes, sweets…

In 1993, my happiness longed for small time because after the crisis of 1993, my father experiences attempts of being killed. This pushed him to fled outside the country. The enemy didnt stop by there, he followed him even in the exil where he gave him poisson. From there, my father got sick and his sickness became more serious day by day to the extent he was hospitalised for a long period. Local doctors tried their best for his medical cares. Even foreign doctors interevened in vain. They later declaired that the sickness was beyond their understading. Then, the last rescue was taking him to prayers or traditional healers. Everything gave nothing as response. Towards the end of 1994, my father passed away. Friends, neighbors and other people surrounding us came together for the funerals but I didn’t know anything regarding to death due to the fact that I was still very little one. I thought my father went somewhere and he had to come back since I was forbiden to participate to his funeral with other children.  After his death, it was the beginning of poverty and squalor life because all his wealth was taken by the enemy. Here I mean his goods which were stolen, the houses which were destroyed and other goods which were damaged. The unhappiest life didn’t allow me to continue my studies because many times we stayed in the exil and I could not get school materials from the simple fact that my mother was unable to take care of six children in refugee camp.  This caused me drop out the school and poverty in our family. My father was a succeful business man and he gave even jobs to our neibghors. He had projects in order to keep up well his family and the society. his place was important and his absence deepen the gap. Whenever I mediatate on this story or when I see the remianings of the houses I become directely sad because the death of my father was the beginning of all the hard moments I went through. Hence, if my father could be alive, I would have completed my studies and I would not have known such squalor life.

My psychological situation was negatively affected and I’m glad to learn about trauma and the way to overcome from it. I commit to assist those living the same situation as I did and invite them to look bhind peaceful coexistence to avoid the repetition of what happened to us.


 I lost my beloved parents when I was little boy. the most notable death for me was that of my mother for distinct reasons. Before she passed away, she was sick for a long period. She could not provided for her any individual care. She couldn’t go alone to the toilet. 

Despite the existance of my farher, my old brother who, after, became at the same time my mother and father took care of my mother as if he was his husband. Imagine that situation of being home nurse of your mother while you are a boy. This situation really angoissed me and left indelible scar at the bottom of my heart. After the death of my mother, dark and ambigious moments permeated on us. Among other things, there were: strong hunger, poverty and other traumatic experiences caused by these deaths. My mother passed away without knowing her and enjoying moment with her. I can’t even tell if she was fat or thin, tall or short.  if she may come back, I couldn’t recognize her. “Ooh, my mother, I adore you!” he continued to say. Due to the fact that my father was a polygamous man, we are many orphans living under quarrels because the second wife took part in my mother’s through wicthcrafts according to the information given by my old brothers. Four years after the death of my mother, my father also passed away and the situation became more serious. We continued to live with continuous quarrels between us and children of the second wife. Despite everthing, i understood that divin grace is upon orphans and widows. It is amezing to see me attending Burundi National University.

I passed through mainy difficulties and developped isolation and other trauma symptoms. My future dream was built on revenge by doing all what I can and eliminate the second wife to my father. After getting this trauma healing workshop, I commit to promot forgiveness and reconciliation in our family to honnor and value my father’s name. I will also assist those living the same situation as orphan as I do


Among other things in my life, I was too much touched negatively by the death of my sister in law who was pregnant. She loved me so much because I was her first sister in law in the family. Her death touched me a lot because of the love she loved me. There arrived a moment where she was pregant. When it was time for her to give birth, she had a poblem of anemia. Doctors tried to transfuse blood to her but without any positive result. Blood stayed not concentrated in her body. Doctors decided to conduct a caesarean in order to have the baby. The baby was born in good health but after some days, my sister in law passed away. Due to the problem of anemia, up to now, when I saw the child, I remember directly of his mother or my sister in law and the love she had towards me. I decided to keep quiet and never tell to people the way I fell because of that.

After the three days workshop on trauma healing, I was able to share this and I fell released.

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Innovations in Peacemaking Burundi

Location: Bujumbura - Burundi
Project Leader:
Elie Nahimana
Bujumbura , Burundi

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