Burundi Crisis Escalates

Tanzania 3

Burundian refugee children in Tanzania

NYARUGUSU CAMP, TANZANIA – After a violent political conflict broke out in Burundi last year, a wave of 220,000 refugees have fled into neighboring countries like Tanzania. More than half are women and girls, most of whom have experienced gender-based violence (GBV) in the process of reaching safety.

International news agencies are reporting that there are instances that point to the possibility of genocide occurring in Burundi, with government forces appearing to target ethnic minorities.

Since the conflict began, a TSI contact in Tanzania* has been helping 30 young Burundian women with computer skills, secondary and HIV/AIDS education, and Bible instruction. They have also cared for those who have become pregnant after experiencing GBV, coming alongside them with resources and childcare so their education can continue.

With the latest influx of families out of Burundi, the organization is now shifting its focus to younger children, both boys and girls, in 2016. Their goal is to establish tent schools in four camps within the region as soon as possible.

“We have reached more than 300 children in tents at the Nyarugusu Settlement Camp, and now have to increase that number,” says Norbert*, a Tanzanian national representing the organization. “[At school] we have been giving them and their families soap, shoes, clothes, and other humanitarian aid.”

The organization has applied for funding from various aid agencies, including Tent Schools International, before they can move forward with schools and supplies for the increasing number of refugees from Burundi.

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Emily Klooster for Tent Schools International
*Full names withheld for security reasons