Cord supports people returning to Burundi Cord’s project ‘Peace through Empowerment of Returning Women, Children and Youth’ works with vulnerable groups returning to Burundi from neighbouring countries. They had fled to find safety away from conflict and fighting. The initiative supports people as they try to settle back into life in their communities. It builds peace at a number of levels: Setting up savings and loans groups which help to reduce poverty Enabling people to access psychological support Educating about conflict and how to avoid violence. Cord’s work to build peace has transformed the life of 25-year-old Claudine Kabura and many in her community. ”I’m very thankful for my role of Mediator in the project. I have benefited from a lot of different training on subjects such as Non-Violent Communication, Self-resilience in the Face of Challenge, and How to Support People Facing Difficulties. As a mediator in my community, many people facing conflicts and difficulties come to see me, and I feel very proud when I’m able to sort out their issues”. Thanks to Claudine’s role there are now fewer conflict situations brought to the authorities because ”community members increasingly come to me to help them solve conflict and other issues” Olivier Nshimirimana is also 25-years-old and a beneficiary of the project. Olivier is a member of the DUFASHANYE Self-Help Group, and was elected to represent his Cluster Level Association (a network of seven self-help groups in his community). ”We have a plan and a vision to effectively contribute towards strengthening peace in our community. We have a mix of returnees and other people in our community, and we noticed that returnees weren’t very comfortable before we started to interact and develop joint actions. They used to say ’will I always feel like a returnee?’ I have greatly appreciated this project, which has really contributed towards demystifying the barriers and has brought an inclusive approach which considers returnees and host community members alike. I just wish that the project could be extended to other areas of our commune. This project has allowed interaction between generations and I think this will contribute towards sustainable peace and to addressing the sad memories of the past”. Christine Niyuhire also appreciates how much the Peace through Empowerment project has improved trust between returnees and the host communities. ”[Before] we didn’t really feel they were Burundians like us. There was a sense of discrimination, and we didn’t think that common initiatives could be developed together”. Christine is vice-representative of the Cluster Level Association in her area, and she says that she has really appreciated how young people are considered. Christine goes on to say, ”if you want information spreading quickly, ask young people to do it. If you want to destroy, manipulate the youth, but if you want to build, involve them accordingly”. Christine believes that the project gives people hope for a peaceful future in their communities and encourages them to think about including their neighbours in their activities. This project, and others like it, are made possible by your generous donations. Thank you for your continued support for our work to make peace a reality in places where people don’t have the freedom to exercise their rights.