|The struggle of a young family after conflict in Burundi|
|Monday, 14 November 2011 00:00|
Everyday Emile Sengiyumva looks for labouring jobs to earn some money to support his two sisters through school.
Now 26, he left school when his family fled to a refugee camp in Tanzania. His father died in the camp and his mother developed disabilities which means she can’t now support the family.
After six years of exile the family returned to Burundi to find their land in Bukeno, Giharo Province already occupied and because their father had died they had no rights. Thanks to some financial support from friends and neighbours they managed to buy back their land; but it’s a small plot and their biggest challenge is being able to grow enough food. Meanwhile local leaders are threatening to seize some of it for themselves.
Photo: David Morphew
Eleven year old Magnifique Namanimana says she hasn’t got any time to play with her friends like other children. “When I come home from school I have to make my own dinner and I will have to look after the goats when they arrive. I don’t have enough supplies for school, so my life is hard,” she added.
“There are 68 children in my class, most are girls. I am also a member of the United Methodist church choir. I have made lots of friends there and I enjoy singing. When I grow up I want to be a teacher so I can pass on knowledge to other children.”
“I want to continue my education,” says her sister 16 year old Aline Niyongabine. “I am very concerned about what I hear on the news, that people are still being killed in their homes over land disputes.”
Cord's programme in Burundi is helping Emile and others in his community overcome the legacy of conflict. He and his family made their own bricks for their new home, built with support from Cord and are now awaiting the arrival of two goats. The first-born of any further goats will be given to others in the community facing similar situations. Cord is also working with the community to resolve issues over access to land.