Christian Aid Week

01/04/2024 15:21

This year Christian Aid Week takes place from 12 - 18 May. The focus for 2024 is Burundi: "In Burundi, malnourishment and poverty affect more than 70% of the population, making survival a daily struggle. Jobs and food are hard to come by, and those who have homes often have no electricity or running water. For Aline, life was a constant struggle. She was married young and gave birth to her eldest son, Fisto, when she was just 14 years old. Aline experienced constant abuse at the hands of her violent husband,eventually forcing Aline to flee. She was not allowed to take her children with her. Hungry, scorned and alone, Aline took her first step towards her new life. She started by participating in a transformative three-day community workshop, funded by Christian Aid. ‘I came out with amazing knowledge and skills. The trainer restored a sense of hope and energy in me,’ says Aline. She was taught how to form a Village Savings and Loans Association (VSLA) and establish a steady income. VSLAs mean people can save for their future and borrow money to kickstart small rural businesses. With all she had learned, Aline’s dream of getting her children back finally felt possible. With a small start-up loan, Aline started trading avocados and peanuts locally. With her profits, she bought a bicycle so she could transport greater quantities of goods to markets further afield. Eventually, her hard work had finally paid off, and she had earned the money to secure a home with her three eldest sons who were able to escape their father and join her. Their father had abused them also and sent their three young siblings to live with different members of his family. Aline still hopes that she’ll be reunited with her youngest children in time. Today, Aline lives peacefully on her own plot of land in a remote village in the Kayogoro Commune in Makamba Province. She’s baked her own bricks and is building a strong home for her and her children in every sense. Now Aline can afford food, clothes and essential healthcare for her family. She’s also purchased solar panels so her children can do their evening homework by electric light. "I like to feed my family with the produce that I grow, such as beans, vegetables and corn. I am so happy that we are together. Now my children feel supported as they have a parent who can meet their needs" - Aline.