EU & UNICEF working together to improve the living conditions of repatriated children in Ruyigi

The Ambassador of the European union Claude BOCHU and the Representative of UNICEF John AGBOR made a joint visit to the reintegration, Protection projects for repatriated children, along with nutrition project implemented by UNICEF and financed by the EU

Labelle Bella Akeza (intern)
The EU Ambassador and UNICEF Representative, with the governor of the province of Ruyigi
UNICEF-Burundi/F.Tandiang
16 May 2022

As part of this visit, Claude BOCHU and John AGBOR visited a solidarity group that facilitates the social reintegration of repatriated families for the protection of children.
This group meets weekly to discuss issues related to children in their community and saves money to help each other. Through their savings, some members of the group have been able to purchase plots of land, and the group has a cow and two goats.

The group's president explaining the group's activities to the guests
UNICEF-Burundi/F.Tandiang
The group's president explaining the group's activities to the guests

Returnee children who have been supported by this solidarity group testify: "After we returned from the repatriation camp, the group made sure that we went back to school by providing us with school materials, food and shelter. We thank UNICEF and the European union for making this possible".

A repatriated child testifying to the benefits of the group
UNICEF-Burundi/F.Tandiang
A repatriated child testifying to the benefits of the group

During the same visit, the two delegations also visited a school that has been receiving returnee children. Thanks to funding from the European union with the support of UNICEF and the partnership of the Jesuit Refugee Service, these children were able to attend remedial classes that allowed them to integrate quickly into society.
Some of the children shared how their lives have changed: "When I came back from the repatriation camp in Tanzania, I could not speak Kirundi or French, but when I started the remedial classes, my language skills improved and my grades went up" said Elvis Irakoze .

The EU Ambassador and the UNICEF Representative with the children of Ecofo Gasanda, Ruyigi
UNICEF-Burundi/F.Tandiang
The EU Ambassador and the UNICEF Representative with the children of Ecofo Gasanda, Ruyigi

On Tuesday morning, May 17, in Ruyigi in the commune of Gisuru, the delegations visited the Mama Lumière group, which conducts prevention and screening activities for malnutrition once a week.

The delegations exchanging with the “Mama Lumière group”
UNICEF-Burundi/F.Tandiang
The delegations exchanging with the “Mama Lumière group”

Christine Kaligirwa, head of the nutrition section, noted that: "900 community health workers have been trained under the project in the province of Ruyigi and Cankuzo and have the capacity to help the community identify cases of malnutrition. We can say that more than 200,000 children have been screened through this project and we have also helped to refer identified sick cases to appropriate services, including health centers and therapeutic care ''. Then, the delegations assisted in the screening of the children present.

A Child being screened
UNICEF-Burundi/F.Tandiang
A Child being screened

The UNICEF representative and the Ambassador of the European Union exchanged with the present mothers, and the visit ended with a culinary tasting for the children.