Against overpowering hardships, thousands of Burundian children strive for a better future each day by walking more than 12 miles to school.
The Switzerland of Africa
Burundi has been called the “Switzerland of Africa” because of her hilly and mountainous terrain. Besides the beautiful landscape, Burundi is known for year-round spring-like weather, creating ideal conditions for subsistence farming. The country’s main exports are tea and coffee. In 2013, a group of Burundi Education Fund Inc. board members and their families participated in a once-in-a-lifetime Mission Trip to Burundi that altered their views, compelling them to serve as devoted advocates for the children of Burundi.
In Need for Intervention
Burundi, one of the poorest countries in the world, is nestled directly below the infamous country of Rwanda. The countries have shared the same colonial history and the, same tragic ethnic cleansings and genocides that have occurred since the 1960’s. Since the end of the recent 13-year civil war (1993-2006), the recovery has been extremely slow and the level of poverty has deepened. The GDP per Capita in Burundi has been lower than that of Haiti since 2010. Education has become a costly privilege in Burundi; only a few finish high school. Electricity, clean drinking water, sanitation and other basic infrastructure are absent in the majority of schools.
Burundi has the second highest population density in Africa with an estimated 9 million people on only 10,740 square miles (similar to the size of the state of Massachusetts). According the Central Intelligence Agency, Burundi ranked number 7 for highest birthrate county in the world. Due to the harsh living environments, disease and food deprivation Burundians have a life expectancy of less than 62 years.
Defying the Odds
Against overpowering hardships, thousands of Burundian children strive for a better future each day by walking more than 12 miles to school, most times without shoes, on rough country paths. These children are resilient to the unfortunate forces surrounding their lives and know that their only ticket out of poverty is education. Just a small act of kindness, a donation, can mean the difference between destined poverty or a fighting chance to become something or someone greater than a their circumstances.