Prince Philippe and Princess Mathilde of Belgium

Flash News 48, July 2012: a royal visit

A royal visit!

Prince Philippe and Princess Mathilde of Belgium

Tuesday July 3rd 2012 was a very special day for the Village Imuhira and all the inhabitants of Rutegama in the province of Muramvya. While on an official visit to Burundi to attend celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of the country’s independence, the Belgian Crown Prince Philippe and his wife Princesse Mathilde spent an hour and a half at the Village Imuhira. The royal couple were accompanied by the Belgian ambassador to Burundi, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation and Development, and a whole army of journalists and television crew!

Needless to say, the visitors received a royal welcome from all the children and staff of the Village. The Prince and Princess were most impressed by the many different aspects of the project which started from scratch just seven years ago.

The royal couple officially opened the new farm complex which has received subsidies from the Department of Cooperation and Development. They also toured extensively the primary and technical schools which came into existence solely through the efforts of private donors and collective fund-raising activities.

This royal recognition comes as a welcome reward for seven years of hard and often sacrificial labour – in Burundi, Belgium, Switzerland and around the world. In just seven years, the Rurenda Hill has been transformed from an empty meadow into an attractive village bustling with activity, where vulnerable children, teenagers and adults can find hope for a better future.

Progress has been particularly impressive over the past few months:

The students of the technical school now attended their theory lessons in brand new classrooms.

A huge new shed has been built for the practical workshops of the masonry school, due to be opened in September.

The grounds of the Village complex have been beautifully decorated, with lawns, bushes, flower-beds, paths and rock gardens.

While the primary school already had its own water supply, a fresh water point has been installed in the grounds, to cater for the needs of the local inhabitants.

Since April, four community health nurses have been employed full-time to meet the medical, social and psychological needs of the children – in the schools of the Village itself and in seven other primary schools in the surrounding area. The initiatives include anti-malaria prevention, hygiene awareness, balanced nutrition, family planning, aid to vulnerable children, etc.

A community development programme has been created whereby vulnerable families receive micro-credits and learn to share responsibility on a rata-basis for collectively-managed resources. To this end, over 500 goats – an important form of capital in rural Burundi – have been distributed.

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Through all these activities, the Village Imuhira seeks to combat poverty by educating parents and children alike, in order to give the present generation the tools necessary to take their destiny into their own hands.

We are deeply grateful to all of you who have helped to make this dream become reality!

The Village Imuhira team

To see more pictures of the royal visit, click here

2012

2012

Flash News 47, February 2012

Thanks to the 5K run in Colorado Springs, water is now running in the Village Imuhira !

2011

Flash News 46, October 2011

Dear friends of the Village Imuhira,

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We have great pleasure to inform you that the Belgian Ambassador to Burundi, His Excellency Jozef Smets, recently visited the site of the Village Imuhira. He was able to discover the full scope of the project and said how impressed he was with all that has been accomplished.

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Annelyse Mary, who is employed by the Belgian mother organisation SEL Projets, has now returned to Burundi for a year and a half. She is helping the local partner with the financial management of the project.

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Our next objective is the construction of a block of three new classrooms for the technical school. Building is due to start in December 2011.

As part of the bid to raise the 10,000 € required to finance this phase of the work, we are organising a Live for Africa concert on Sunday 18th December at 6 p.m. at the Centre Culturel of Auderghem, Brussels. The group SHINE A LIGHT, which first shone during our previous concerts, will once again be joining forces with the youth choir of UJEB-Bruxelles. If you’re able to attend, don’t miss this exciting new show! It promises to be not only fine entertainment, but also an excellent opportunity to make the project known.

If you want to book your seat : 0485 027 721

The Village Imuhira team.

April 2011

Flash News 45, June 2011

Dear friends of the Village Imuhira,

Freshly back from a 10-day visit to Burundi, project founder Luc Torrini has some exciting and challenging news to share.

How are things progressing in the school complex?

The technical school is now fully operational. 20 students attend classes, and orders keep coming in for products made in the carpentry workshop. As the ultimate aim is for the Village Imuhira to be self-financing, this is a very encouraging start!

Results in the primary school are improving year by year, judging by the overall success rate, but it’s a real challenge to cater for the specific needs each of the 550 pupils. Sadly, since the beginning of the year 30 children have dropped out, because of lack of parental support, poverty, sickness, or because their family moved away in search of work, etc.

The canteen continues to provide vital nutritional aid to the children.

What are the immediate plans for the future?

We plan to build three new classes for the technical school, and hope to open a new masonry department in 2012.

We have just enrolled a full-time community nurse who will practise preventative health care in the families. She will provide special assistance to orphans and other children in vulnerable situations, and will seek to build bonds of solidarity within the local community.

Through the farm project, we aim to support local peasants’ associations in their livestock and agricultural programmes, as we are already doing with the beekeepers of the region.

We also plan to adapt the school’s plumbing system to provide safe running water to the local population. Thanks to the runners of Colorado Springs, finance for this project is starting to flow in!

During your stay, you organised a two-day retreat for all the Village Imuhira personnel. Why? How did it go?

It’s vital for all those directly involved in the project to share the same values that we are seeking to transmit to the local population. So over 40 of us travelled to a wonderful retreat centre, and we enjoyed two days of extraordinary fellowship. We all sensed a real feeling of belonging to the Village Imuhira.

A word of conclusion?

At present, in Burundi, 42 people are working full-time for the Village Imuhira. That’s impressive! Many children and teenagers are receiving education. The beehives and carpentry workshops are beginning to generate revenue which will cover some of the costs. However, in order to reach the objective of full autonomy, we are still in urgent need of financial support – to build new classes, purchase medical equipment, care for those most destitute…

A big “thank you” once again to each of our donors. As you invest now, we won’t have to call on you later!

Make a solidarity gift to the Village Imuhira.

The Village Imuhira team.

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Colorado Springs into action…

Come and run (or walk!) for the Village Imuhira 

The support group in Colorado is organizing a 5K fundraiser to provide safe drinking water for the local villagers.

Saturday May 28th, at 10 a.m., behind the Cheyenne Mountain High School
(1200 Cresta road, Colorado Springs, CO 80906)

- $5 minimum donation 

- To obtain sponsor form, waiver etc., contact Alison Mead (alimgym@gmail.com) or Brandon Mohr (trackandfieldguy1234@gmail.com)

- Don’t forget to bring the waiver on the day of the race!

Without running water, this is how Burundian women perform their daily chores. With your help, that can change!

Thanks to our 80+ runners, we raised over $1400!

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Flash News 44, March 2011

Dear friends of the Village Imuhira,

They’re called Onésime, Annick, Aristide, Aloys, Viviane… and they live in the hills surrounding the Village Imuhira. They each have a name, and their stories are often painful, because poverty causes pain.

In early January 2011, we assembled over 350 members of the local community, and took time to listen to them and assess the progress of our project. It was important to note the successes and failures of the past, and to give local people a say in some of the major decisions relating to the future. We were most impressed by the number of participants, their enthusiasm and the quality of their commitment. The findings of this meeting will serve as a basis for our plan of action for the next three years.

In the context of rural Burundi, the work of development seeks to: guarantee people access to education, safe water and health care; harness farming potential so as to fight food insecurity; discover ways of generating revenue locally; and encourage employment through training programmes for jobs which are particularly valuable in the region.
Aid to development also involves strengthening the capacities of local communities, creating mechanisms of solidarity, encouraging cooperatives, welding together the social network…
In short, development involves providing the means to help a community build its own future, while at the same time promoting a culture of peace and justice for all. That’s what we’re aiming at together.

We are also proud to inform you that the Village Imuhira is now fully electrified. Thanks to Energy Assistance, the technical school, the apiary and the primary school are all connected to the local electricity supply network. The other activities on the site continue to bring help to the destitute.

Annelyse Mary is currently in Burundi for three months. She has taken leave from her job in Belgium to serve as a volunteer, using her professional capabilities in financial management to help reorganise the Village Imuhira’s accounting system. The aim is to train Burundians to continue the task. Thank you, Annelyse!

We’d like to thank you once again for responding to our appeal for solidarity gifts. Please contact us if you wish to receive further promotion materials or organise an information meeting in your area. The project is growing, and we need your support more than ever. Thank you for your faithfulness!

The Village Imuhira team.

Belgian Ambassador to Burundi

2011

2011

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Ne m’oublie pas … Don’t forget me!

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