Posted on July 1, 2020 We Cultivate and Harvest Together

A testimony from Ildephonse Niyokindi- Burundi Coordinator STEP – Children of Peace Project

Greetings from Burundi!

May the peace of Christ be with you all.

Our thoughts and prayers are with you in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Proverbs 19:17 says “Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done.’’ In many ways, the mere act of being charitable is its own reward; but as this verse notes, being compassionate to people who are less fortunate that we are is also something that God will reward. May God continue to bless you as you help strengthen the future of vulnerable children from Burundi.

We conduct our STEP – Children of Peace activities in the village of Muhuzu, in the Gishubi community of Gitega province. There is an ‘internal displacement’ camp in this area which is occupied mainly by people who have fled mass atrocities which took place back in 1993. Our activities have been designed to support the education of children in this area, and also foster unity, reconciliation and peaceful cohesion among people from the camp and those from the neighboring village.

The project has three aspects: humanitarian, peace building, and economic empowerment. In September 2019, we facilitated the education of 50 children – 25 from the camp and 25 from the neighboring village. This support equipped these students to get the supplies and uniforms they needed which enabled them to stay in school. (Several students were on the brink of dropping out of school due to their lack of these items.)

We also implemented agriculture and pig farming projects to help families generate the income needed to cover the basic needs of these children and buy school materials for them in the future. Agriculture is the most common activity practiced in Gishubi. STEP – Children of Peace has rented land for one year for all the parents of school-age children to cultivate. We provided potato, bean and maize seeds as well as natural and chemical fertilizers. The parents cultivate the land together in a group and will also harvest these crops together. They have elected representatives who work with a group of youth to monitor and report about the activities.

We have found that raising pigs is profitable in Gishubi. 13 piglets have been given to 52 families and five piglets to the group of youth who support these agricultural activities. One piglet was given to four families (two families from the internal displacement camp and two families from the neighboring village). Each group chose a place to raise the piglet and all of them take responsibility to feed it. Medications are provided. When the pig gives birth, members of each group each receive a piglet and raise it at home.

As income is generated, families have the means to send their children to school. Education transforms lives and changes society.

Continue praying for us as communities sustainably transform themselves through your generous support.

Lance and Christina Muteyo, on behalf of Ildephonse Niyokindi