Is there a better sight than a child running carefree, a massive smile across his face? Can you imagine the group of excited children, running to meet him? They are his siblings, and they are so happy to be reunited. Issa’s story was close to ending in tragedy, but for the intervention of New Generation Burundi, whose work with street-connected children is transforming futures days after day.
Issa was living on the streets at twelve years old. This pre-teen child was sleeping outside on cardboard. He had run away from home and found himself begging to survive in Bujumbura. He remembers how they were rejected by people: “The most challenging thing was hiding from the police. They would beat us up whenever they saw us”.
But then Issa was hit by a car in an accident, the mortified driver took him to the nearest hospital, but once Issa was fixed up by the doctors, he had nowhere to go so he lingered in the wards, sleeping in the corridors. Thankfully GLO partner New Generation Burundi (NGB) heard of his plight and brought him to one of their street children’s homes.
They continued to care for him ever since, taking him to hospital appointments. Issa also did reintegration training to aid his return to a normal childhood. Like many street-connected children, an education and a safe home were a distant memory and a dream impossible to obtain. Can you imagine how he felt as he realised he had been given the gift of hope?
NGB connected Issa with his father. Issa had run away to escape poverty; lacking food and failing in school. He remained at the NGB home for a while whilst undertaking reconciliation sessions with his family to enable them to support him in the future.
With a small and frail body, Issa appears younger than his age. It is clear life on the streets has not been kind to him, but he maintains a positive spirit. “I would like to be a footballer.” Even in a wheelchair with a plastered leg, he believed his dreams were plausible. He sees the accident as a second chance at life.
Thankfully, his leg is now healed, and Issa is happily back with his family!
This remarkable young man has lost none of his enthusiasm for life. Fit and well, he would still love to become like his footballing hero, Lionel Messi. The wonderful video provided by New Generation shows a joyful reunion with his family as they begin a fresh chapter together once again.
Meanwhile, the New Generation children’s home is at full capacity, each child with a story like Issa’s. Plans are underway to build a brand new Street Children center, which will increase capacity and equip them with better facilities for the types of programmes which Issa benefitted from. In the meantime, there are many still sleeping on cardboard in Bujumbura.