Kirundi, Swahili, and French are the three main languages of Burundi, but now that Burundi is part of the East-African Community, it is important that Burundians learn English to fully participate in the political, economic, and social aspects of this organization.
Because Burundians trying to learn English struggle with the lack of printed resources, BFI’s goal was to send over 40,000 English language books to Burundi’s universities, schools, and English Clubs. Thanks to the support of our donors and our partnership with Books for Africa, we were able to surpass this! Just this summer of 2014, BFI’s second batch of books, a 40′ container of more than 20,000 books, arrived in Burundi, totaling BFI’s book count to 44,000.
The U.S. Embassy of Bujumbura, Burundi is assisting us in getting the books delivered to the right places, to both students at the university level to the poorest youth teaching themselves in Cibitoke. Cibitoke, a once violent area of conflict between Hutus and Tutsis, is now a focal point for peace and reconciliation. BFI English clubs are also popping up throughout the country. There are currently twelve clubs that teach over 800 students within four of the seventeen provinces of Burundi.
As containers are commonly used in Burundi as shops, BFI decided to transform our container into a library. We will be guided in this endeavor by engineering students in the Global TIES Program at UC San Diego’s Jacobs School of Engineering.
BFI believes that books are one of the resources we can provide that will make the biggest impact in Burundi at this time. Our goal is to continue supporting Burundians through education and to provide certificates of English proficiency to the Burundians that can help propel this education.
It is important for Burundians to learn English in order to increase their opportunity to participate in business, educational and technological opportunities within Burundi and throughout East Africa. BFI english clubs provide a free learning environment, and access to technology and books so that anyone may participate and learn to speak and write in english. These skills greatly expand job opportunities and provide a foundation for future economic, business and agricultural growth across Burundi. They help native Burundians to connect with the global community and develop self-sustaining opportunities.
The first BFI english club began with 35 students and 3 Burundi leaders, and has expanded to dozens of clubs serving thousands of Burundians in all 18 provinces in just a few short years.
Burundi Friends International (BFI) is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization. We invite you to contact us to volunteer and join in our work to end poverty and create self-sustaining opportunity for Burundi, or donate to support BFI’s mission.