As Covid causes chaos globally, Burundians are banned from mass gatherings. The first cases in the country have been identified. Thousands live hand to mouth - if they don't go to work, they can't eat, so starvation is a massive threat if lockdown is introduced. There is also an extreme shortage of ventilators and intensive care beds across the nation. Meanwhile, the economy, already one of the three poorest in the world, is challenged more than ever.
'Three-in-One' ministries recently met a teenager who had brought his goats (i.e. his livelihood) to Bujumbura to sell them. He intended to use the proceeds to buy a ticket to Uganda so that he could go and join his brother, living in a camp there. The Three-in-One' team are now meeting up with him regularly and have encouraged him not to give up on his life in Burundi.
A new series of Kick Off to Hope sewing classes are underway. Kick Off works in the poorest communities to teach vulnerable women a trade and how to run a business so they can start to build a better life. These women have been through extremely tough times - they are orphans, widows, underage mothers and poverty-driven school dropouts. For example, one girl had to drop out of school because she just couldn't afford glasses so she just couldn't see well enough to read. For around four years she survived without hope but then came across the Kick Off programme which has given her a new start and new skills, just what she needs!
Just a few weeks ago, 1200 parents in Burundi were wondering where the money would come from to get their children back to school. Thanks to our supporters' generosity and swift response, we've been able to help keep around 3600 children in education for the coming year. We distributed £30/$40 to each family, which, for many, has made all the difference between keeping the children in education, going into debt or losing their place(s) at school.
Jean Bosco Mutebutsi, director of J-Life Burundi, spoke at the St. Christopher staff chapel in Seabrook Island. Brent Agnew, who works at St. Christopher's says: "I was blessed to attend Bosco’s talk. When evil arrived ... in the form of genocide in Central Africa beginning in 1994, particularly in Bosco’s nation of Burundi and in Rwanda, many people saw how horrible it was. Most of us could only watch from afar through the media... Bosco’s life of serving orphans and widows through J-Life is testimony of the Holy Spirit’s work."
During August over 700 young people were sent out by Harvest Initiatives as part of the annual National Outreach Campaign to share the Good News. Over the past 15 years 164,000 people have made a commitment to Christ as a result of intrepid volunteers sharing the love of God through acts of community service as well as preaching and prayer.
As part of the campaign, 30 teenagers spent 10 day training in child evangelism. They spoke to around 1500 children and adults and 635 responded to give their lives to Christ.
Work has begun on extending classroom capacity at a number of Burundi Youth for Christ Schools, raising a generation of godly leaders for the country. Please pray for funds to complete the building work, for teachers to fill the vacancies and join us in praising God for all He is doing through these schools.
Two of our partners, Harvest Initiatives and Kick Off for Hope are collaborating to bring employment training to the Batwa in villages where Harvest works. The Batwa are the poorest 1% of the population in Burundi. They are poorly educated and often face great discrimination, being regarded as less than human, so this training is a real breakthrough for them!
Thanks to you, our faithful supporters, we have been able to take the incredible opportunity of a place on the Board of Heritage TV. This means we can help ensure that the poorest Burundians get the best quality TV in terms of Christian teaching.
Bosco at JLife writes: "We believe in empowering people to help themselves. We were able to purchase a rice field where a group of widows are now growing rice. We are thankful to the Lord that we have already harvested once and planted again. As well as providing rice to eat, they managed to make a profit and want to invest this in a new soap business."
Every month GLO leaders get together, to meet and pray together. These are important times of encouragement and learning from one another. Pictured here are many of the GLO leaders from the various projects we support, along with Charlotte Hutchinson, Trustee of GLO UK, who was visiting the team in Burundi.
Claudine, single parent of four little ones says,
"It is amazing that I can read and write after attending 4 months of classes (run by JLife).
I have never been to school but I am thankful that I can read and write. I can open my Bible and read it without having someone else read for me."
She is one of 50 widows learning reading, writing and numeracy, all crucial skills for making a living.
In Burundi, only 54.6% of females are able to read and write.
Kings Conference Centre has been voted #1 of 21 Hotels in Bujumbura. Goretti Wege, General Manager, says, "We believe the future of this nation is worth investing in. More than a conference centre, we are a social enterprise that exists to transform the future of Burundi." Currently undergoing expansion, the building is in two sections, so the development does not disturb guests. www.kccburundi.org
New Generation has delivered its very first Entrepreneurship training for 20 young girls and women at risk aged between 13 and 24. They also taught life skills, listened to the girls' stories and provided advice.
As the saying goes: ''If you educate a man, you educate an individual. But if you educate a woman, you educate a nation,'' African Proverb.
Cycling an average of 110km a day for 7 days in aid of the GLO’s lifesaving work in Burundi, the African GLO Tour crosses Rwanda through stunning scenery including a tea plantation, a volcano park and genocide sites. It's not too late to book for the experience of a lifetime... More info is here to download. Please forward this to all cyclists! Thank you.
Church leaders gathered together at Kings Conference Centre in Bujumbura to celebrate the new Kirundi bible. Pictured here are leaders from different denominations worshipping joyfully giving thanks for the new translation.
Thanks to a very generous gift from The Diamond Trust, Gitega International Academy has been able to purchase a much-needed school bus. Here you can see staff and students giving thanks and praying to dedicate the bus to the Lord.
Antioch School joined together with Christian Initiatives for Peace and GLO to organize a national Prayer conference which gathered 200 intercessors from different cities and churches of Burundi. It was a wonderful time praying for the nation.
Scripture Union Burundi have been trained to use sport. They organized football games in 13 different churches across different denominations, followed up with a celebration in Bujumbura Cathedral attended by 2,000 children.