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SOS Children's Villages began caring for orphans in Burundi in 1977, and following the outbreak of civil war in 1993, launched an emergency aid programme in the Muyinga Province of Burundi, for war orphans. This became the third permanent Children's Village, of four today. … more about our charity work in Burundi

One SOS young person dies, another injured in Burundi attacks

Safety and security seem a long way off in Burundi
Safety and security seem a long way off in Burundi

24 year-old Naila Kamariza sadly lost her life in a grenade attack in Bujumbura on Friday evening. She was at a market in the Burundian capital with her friend Yvette, also 24, buying fruit and vegetables when unknown assailants threw a grenade into the crowd.

Naila was critically injured, and she later died in hospital. Yvette is stable, but is continuing to receive treatment. There are plans to move her to an SOS Medical Centre for better care in the coming days.

A bright future destroyed by violence 

Naila and Yvette both grew up in SOS Children’s Village Muyinga, an SOS Village set up in the 1990s in the wake of the Burundian civil war to care for children orphaned by the conflict. Naila flourished in Muyinga and went on to study at the University of Great Lakes in Bujumbura. Both girls had been living independently in the capital, receiving support from SOS Children Burundi for their education.

Naila’s death brings home the dangers facing ordinary Burundians as they struggle to continue their daily lives following the recent surge in violence across the country. President Pierre Nkurunziza’s announcement earlier in May that he will be standing for a third-term has been met with great hostility and the capital has been rocked by protests. According to the opposition, President Nkurunziza has already served the maximum number of terms.

Political turmoil forces families from homes

A failed coup on 13 May intensified the violence and the murder of an opposition leader, Zedi Feruzi on 23 May in a drive-by shooting has made the situation even more unstable. The unpredictability of the situation as the June elections loom has resulted in an estimated 90,000 people, 60% of whom are children, fleeing to neighbouring countries. These refugees are struggling to find shelter and food, and conditions are deteriorating with outbreaks of cholera and severe diarrhoea already occurring. 

SOS Children forced to close schools in capital

SOS Children provides education to children in Bujumbura, Burundi
Education interrupted for children in Bujumbura

We hope to be able to continue our work in Burundi, but as the violence spreads across the country there are fears that this may become increasingly difficult. The security situation means that we have been forced to close three SOS Schools in Bujumbura, affecting the 260 children and young people who attend them.

SOS Children have been working in Burundi since 1976. Years of civil war and poverty have combined to make Burundi a difficult place to be a child. The five SOS Villages across the country provide a safe and loving environment for the 1,000 children that call them home. The SOS Medical Centres, SOS Schools, Nurseries and family strengthening programmes attached to these five SOS Villages mean that SOS Children’s reach in Burundi goes further, encompassing many of the surrounding communities. 

In the coming weeks and months, we will continue to be there for the most vulnerable children. Find out more about our ongoing work in Burundi and how you can help.

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