Thanks to your wonderful support we are enabling more communities in Burundi to become safe and stable. We are empowering women to achieve economic security for themselves and their families and to have a tremendously positive impact on wider society. Our Peace Through Empowerment project works with returning refugees, particularly women, children and young people who are often marginalised. 

In 2004 Pascaline Manirakiza fled the violence of Burundi’s civil war. During four years as refugees her five children could not attend school. In dreadful living conditions they had no access to the most basic needs and they were constantly ill.  

“We decided to return to Burundi, not because we thought we would be safe but because we feared dying far from our family.” 

Despite their fears they returned home, only to find that their home and belongings had been taken. They were destitute and had nothing. They were living in a divided community with a constant threat of violence. 

At this critical point in her life, Pascaline became part of Cord’s project ‘Peace through Empowerment of Returning Women, Children and Youth’. This initiative works with women, children, youth and other vulnerable groups as they return and attempt to settle back into their communities. It builds peace at a number of levels: 

  • Setting up savings and loans groups which help reduce poverty 
  • Enabling people to access psychological support 
  • Educating about conflict and how to avoid violence 

Cord’s work to build peace has transformed Pascaline’s life and community. She became part of a Self Help Group where she was trained in conflict resolution and non-violent communication. Pascaline also learned about loans, savings and small business management. 

My confidence and wellbeing have improved through training and support received from Cord.

Pascaline now runs a small successful business and supports her family. She heads up five Self Help Groups which help to build a more peaceful and prosperous community. 

With the other women leaders, we are proud that we can contribute to greater cohesion in our community which is still exposed to divisive factors.

The Peace through Empowerment project comes to an end this year. During these final months we are holding meetings where Change Agents like Pascaline can share their experiences and learning. There will also be intergenerational dialogue meetings on community reconciliation, human rights and the rights of women and children 

Projects like this 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.