Bridging the Gap

Bridging the Gap

My life has changed considerably because I am able to take care of everything I need to live well...

My life has changed considerably because I am able to take care of everything I need to live well...

Callixte completed his university education over five years ago, graduating with a degree in civil engineering. Although the need for good civil engineering is high in Burundi, there aren’t many paid job opportunities around. So Callixte was unable to find work and remained unemployed for 5 years, still living at home with his father and struggling to afford to eat. The struggle to secure employment is common for graduates in Burundi.

Earlier this year, he moved to Kabezi, near the largest city of Bujumbura, in a further attempt to find work where he was introduced to GLO Partner RAJEDES, and decided to undertake the training in sewing. On completion, he quickly started work at the training centre as an assistant trainer himself; with a loan from RAJEDES enabling him to purchase the necessary raw materials, Callixte was soon able to open his own workshop, where he specialised in making uniforms.

Callixte’s enterprise was very successful. He was able to repay his loan very quickly, and his business has grown rapidly. The beauty of investing in small businesses like this is that the positive impact has a ripple effect. Callixte now owns 4 sewing machines and has been able to hire 6 paid staff – 3 full-time and 3 part-time – helping others out of unemployment.

Piles of brown school uniform material folded and ready to sew.
Material in Callixte’s workshop ready to sew into uniforms.

Callixte says, “Things changed after completing my training, because thanks to the support of RAJEDES I was able to open a sewing workshop and I quickly specialized in the sale of school uniforms, so my workshop quickly prospered thanks to God. I achieved financial stability after receiving a [loan of] 5,000,000 Francs (approx £1380 / $1700) from RAJEDES through their project entitled ‘Youth Driving Sustainable Development’.

“Today my life has changed considerably because I can take care of everything I need to live well. I have already repaid the loan in full … I cannot fail to thank RAJEDES, who introduced me to a good profession. May God bless RAJEDES to continue helping others in need.”

Whilst Callixte moved away from the field of civil engineering, in another part of the country RAJEDES was building bridges of its own – figuratively and literally!

As well as equipping university graduates like Callixte, RAJEDES work with poor and marginalised communities to give opportunities to people on every tier of the socioeconomic ladder. They recently connected with a new community in Mugina, and to build up good relationships they kicked off the bridge-building by…building a bridge! 

For the local children to get to school, they had to bypass a deep and dangerous river, which added a lot of time to their already long walk to school. This bridge now cuts down the journey time and also makes trading more accessible to the whole community. The RAJEDES team also built further bridges with the locals in a more traditional manner – football

Once they have established a trusting relationship with the locals, they can offer their services, and seek to establish a savings group, offering loans like the one Callixte benefitted from. RAJEDES will particularly focus on the young people in the community to equip them with useful skills and opportunities.

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