May Provincial Newsletter from Burundi

 

May Provincial Newsletter from Burundi

A NEW WAY TO ADDRESS POVERTY

When flooding occurred two years ago the people of Gasenyi in Mutimbuzi Commune, most of whom depend on agriculture to survive, lost their crops as their fields washed away. They faced great economic hardship and became extremely poor.

To respond to the multiple challenges they initiated an association, putting together their energy and resources. The Parish supported them by making land available and 100 people began to grow different varieties of vegetables and fruits some for consumption and some to sell to generate income.

Most of the members of the association are women who are deeply committed to the initiative that they say contribute to improved conditions in their families. “We no longer lack vegetables or buy them in the market rather we now supply the local market”, they said in an interview to the Provincial Communications Office.

The same association has initiated a saving and credit system for funding small individual projects and they are happy that activities lost because of the floods and the crisis are now restored. “We are now able to pay school fees for our children, it’s possible to feed them, some of us bought goats and others rent fields for agricultural business all because we get incomes from our association”, said Ciza Madelaine.

Another impact of the association is peace building. In the past years Gasenyi has been badly affected by the crisis and the community has suffered from division. Now they choose to work together in order to face the major challenge of poverty. They are from different ethnic groups and religious denominations and enjoy working together to bring change to their lives.

The approach of people funding small projects by themselves is also part of the new program that the Province of the Anglican Church of Burundi is running with UNICEF in the south of Burundi. In Rumonge and Nyanza-Lac many groups of people have been trained in a savings and credit system and the impact is visible in the community where those groups operate.

EMERGENCY RELIEF THE CONCERN OF THE CHURCH

During the last months heavy rains have caused damage in some parts of the country, including the capital Bujumbura with houses and fields washed away as rivers overflowed.

The Anglican Church of Burundi with Christian Aid was able to assist 400 people in Gatumba in the western part of Bujumbura province where rain caused damage to the homes of several hundred families. The local administration called for emergency aid and Gatumba Parish helped to identify those needing assistance.

Families that were helped and the local administration expressed gratitude to the Anglican Church and its partners for their commitment to help the needy.

A TIME TO CELEBRATE GOD’S FAITHFULNESS

Sylvie NIZIGYIMANA has lived with disability since she was 10 years old. On Saturday 7th May she married her friend Michel in St. Peter’s Cathedral in Matana. Hundreds of people came to support her on her wedding day. It was a moment of celebration for everyone.

The whole service centred on the faithfulness of God as the congregation heard about Sylvie’s long journey as a Christian. “We know how Sylvie is committed to prayer and how she serves God with love and humility. We know how her involvement in Sunday school teaching is very important and we all know how she is a good example for all of us. Seeing her reaching this step in life is a living testimony of the faithfulness of God for her”, said a friend of hers.

Sylvie told the Provincial Communications Office how her new step of having a family is another fulfilment of God’s promises to her that strengthen her faith. “I stood by what God said to me and now I am living in the promises “, she said.

Sylvie knows about hardship and suffering. During the crisis in 1997 she lost her brothers and sisters who helped her as she struggled with her disabilities. “I had no hope until I met a Christian who comforted me with the Word of God and I felt it was worth opening my heart to it”, said Sylvie. From that time she participated in Christian meetings and sometimes attended Sunday services.

She was constantly worried about her future but kept faith. Things changed when her case became known to the office of Matana diocese. She had been asked to leave her home in Songa commune and move to Matana where she has lived since 2001.

At Matana members of the congregation including pastors became involved in looking after her and helping her to integrate in the community. With the support of missionaries she got a house and Mothers’ Union contributed to training her in some activities especially dressmaking. She learned quickly and started a dressmaking shop. She also invested in agriculture which became one of her flourishing activities.

Now Sylvie is responsible for a family of five including an adopted child. Along with other Christians in Matana Cathedral she is involved in and committed to different projects and activities and makes a useful and valuable contribution despite her disabilities. Asked about the key for her success she said: “Faith in God, because He is not limited by our disabilities when He wants to achieve great things in our lives”.

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