Short term disaster, long term plans in Burundi
A School in Need of Expansion
Matana is the birthplace of the Anglican Church in Burundi. It is also lacking in educational opportunities. Unemployment of youth leads to the temptations of prostitution, drug use, and systemic poverty.
This is not unusual in Burundi, a nation that has been plagued by political unrest, virtually paralyzing an education system that was already failing before the conflict began. Across the country, educational facilities are dilapidated and this contributes to low student enrollment, attendance, and performance. Many teachers are not qualified, and many students are displaced, which makes focusing on their education difficult. School buildings have been destroyed across the country. In places like the Diocese of Matana, poverty has prevented people from participating in their own development and seeking improved schools.
To combat these problems, the Anglican Diocese of Matana in Burundi will expand the facilities at Ecole Fondementale de Matana School. This ambitious project will build six new classrooms for primary school students, two for kindergarteners, and two for post-primary students. The new classrooms will increase the school’s enrollment from the current 1,036 students to 1,586. Sixty students will enroll in kindergarten, 390 in primary school, and 100 in post-primary education.
This project could not come at a better time for Matana. Last month, a devastating fire destroyed the central market. Traders, many who are members of the Anglican church have lost their businesses. It is estimated that 4,000 families were living from the income from this one market.
While ARDF has sent a relief gift to help those affected by the fire, we are excited to partner with the Diocese of Matana to meet the longer term needs of the community.
Beyond providing classrooms for students, the new space will be used by the community for meetings, evangelism, and Bible study – all practices that promote peace and reconciliation. Now that is something worth celebrating in this war-torn country!