Community comes to the rescue of a vulnerable family in Burundi

Published: 24 June 2014 12:40 CET

Susan Onyango, IFRC

Esperance Mukarugamba, 40, is a married mother of seven from Cankuzo Province, Burundi. She is a small-scale farmer who grows maize, beans, millet, bananas and cassava, mainly for her family’s consumption.

Her family previously lived nearby in a two-room grass thatched house that was much too small for them. The roof often leaked, making it difficult for them to live comfortably.

Members of the local unit of the Burundi Red Cross Society identified Esperance as a vulnerable person. They selected her as a beneficiary of a community initiative of the German Red Cross Society, funded  by the German Ministry of Cooperation (BMZ), to support vulnerable members of society. 

Esperance is now the proud owner of a five-room house, complete with a kitchen and latrine, constructed from locally made bricks, with a tin roof. Community members supplied the bricks and were paid to construct the house.

“I am happy because I have a comfortable and big house. There is enough space for my family and the roof does not leak anymore,” said Esperance with a smile.

Esperance is among hundreds of households which have benefited from the project implemented in Munzenze, Mishiha and Buyongwe in Cankuzo Province. 

“Three hundred houses were constructed during the first phase of the project, between 2009 and 2011,” said Dr Maren Landschulze, German Red Cross Society representative in Burundi. “The second phase of the project has seen 325 houses constructed and 35 houses rehabilitated.”

The project has also improved livelihoods of the communities through income generation activities in agriculture and livestock, as well as in environmental conservation.

The Burundi Red Cross Society will continue to support communities to improve living standards for families such as Esperance’s.