World Mission Sunday column

By Egide Nimubona | Special to The Compass | October 19, 2021

The Burundi Education Fund is honored to be included in the 2022–2024 World Mission Services projects booklet of the Diocese of Green Bay. The two projects listed on page 13 of the booklet come to the very core of the Burundi Education Fund’s mission: (Project #1) providing the infrastructure for meeting the basic nutritional needs of the children and (Project #2) providing school tuition to support educating the Burundi refugee children living outside of the refugee camps in Rwanda. 

We started our nutritional program after learning that some children going home for lunch did not return for afternoon classes. Upon investigation, we found that these children had no breakfast before going to school, went home at noon to find no food for lunch, and did not have the energy to walk back to school and then back home again on an empty stomach. 

To combat this problem and provide for a good learning environment, we started serving food.  For breakfast, we provide porridge for the children, a healthy meal to get their day started right. At lunch, a meal of beans and rice is provided, a traditional and healthy meal. The porridge is easy to eat while standing, as it is served in a mug. The lunch meal, a plate of beans and rice, is a bit trickier to eat standing. Most children sit on the ground outside to eat their lunch. This is not so pleasant when it is raining outside. Providing a solution for one problem led to the discovery of another: no tables or benches to sit on, and no shelter during bad weather.

A donation of $45 can provide a lunch table for 8 children, allowing them to more easily eat their lunch while keeping their clothes clean and dry. A donation of $30 provides a bench for four children. These benches can be used both in the classroom and outside for lunch, serving dual purposes. Large tents are also a desirable item to protect the children from having to eat in the rain. While the tents cost $800 each, they can easily shelter 100 students from rain while eating.  

Raising tuition fees to get all of the refugee children in school is also a primary goal of the Burundi Education Fund. We continually find children whose family can barely afford to buy food, much less send their children to school. A donation of $100 provides an education in an elementary school for a complete year, while a $450 donation will pay for tuition, room and board, and uniforms for a high school student for an entire year. 

Another project of the Burundi Education Fund, found on page 8 of the World Mission Services booklet, is to provide medical care and clean water to Burundi refugees in Rwanda and Uganda. Hundreds of Burundi refugees there suffer from various diseases without medical care. Schoolchildren suffer from medical conditions and trauma, but have no access to health care. A donation of $11 to $14 can provide antibiotics to cure typhoid malaria, keeping a child alive. Donating $15 will provide a consultation with a doctor. A 30-cent bottle of clean drinking water can prevent stomach aches in children due to intestinal worms.

Being included in the World Mission Services booklet allows us to share our mission and the plight of the Burundi refugee children with everyone in the Diocese of Green Bay. All donations are received with much gratitude and go quite far in meeting the basic needs of the children. No gift is too small.

To learn more visit the Foundation’s project page: catholicfoundationgb.org/projects-available-booklet/.

Nimubona is founder of the Burundi Education Fund.

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