One afternoon we decided to visit former beneficiaries to find out what the Community Development Program FXBVillage has brought to these families and see where they are today, a few months after they graduated from the program.
In the village of Buterere II, there are some families of Twa pygmy population. It is a minority in Burundi and is generally considered to be the oldest inhabitants of the region and neighboring countries. In each of these countries, this minority is politically, economically and socially marginalized and has difficulty in questioning the discrimination they face.
We then enter Dorothée’s home. The family is a couple with five children. In all the families we visit, we notice that God is very present in their daily lives. That’s why, when Dorothée was asked how they were going, she said with great joy to meet us that they were doing well and that she thanked God every day for bringing FXB into their lives. She tells us about their lives before the great changes that her family had been able to take advantage of: they survived “thanks” to trash. They were waiting on the rubbish dump to get the trucks coming to throw the city garbage to burn them. When the vehicle dumps its waste, many people jostle for some “treasures”. Dorothée was looking for pieces of coal to sell them for a few bank notes, and when she found food scraps like bits of banana or spoiled meat, she would bring them back to her family to feed them. Their daily life was to survive through the waste of others and to survive in these bad conditions of hygiene and in these nauseating smells mixed with the smoke of all that was burned permanently.
So we can better imagine the hope of this woman when one day people came to announce that their life was going to change. She talks about everything that FXB has brought them: first of all, hygiene training to keep illnesses away, no longer having to go to the rubbish dump, schooling for children, and taking care of the health. Dorothée was a very active woman and she still is. She had a vision at the beginning of the program to develop IGAs (Income-Generating Activities) such as a small fruit and vegetable trade and the manufacture of bricks with her husband’s help. What it lacked was a small start-up capital that was contributed by FXB and which allowed her to realize her project.
Today, this family is doing well, even if everybody there is suffering from the current drought in the country. Nevertheless, Dorothée continues to increase her capital and thus to support her family.
Dorothée keeps a great hope in the future and wants to change house and buy a new plot. What a life experience! We saw several families in the same situation. They cannot forget the situation they were in before. Today all are so proud of what they have become. They are respected and respectable. They are legally married and their children are civilly enrolled, which gives them access to health care. FXB provides them training in life skills, family planning, and couple’s life.