It starts with a dream. Amani Esperance is a young Burundian woman with big dreams. “I come from a poor family but I got a chance of going to school with all the love and support of my parents, though life is hard. My family is founded on love.” Amani is proud of who she is and where she comes from, and her talents are many: teacher, poet, and musician.

From zero to hero. Amani has played a big role in helping to develop and teach the BFI English Clubs. “I started learning English in that club in 2012. At that time, I was unable to speak, to understand, even to write English. Once I met Julie, I was really inspired by her and decided to share what I already had with others.” Today, Julie Marner calls Amani THE best woman teacher for BFI English Clubs: “She learned English so quickly and in fact was my interpreter for a Rotary meeting I had back in 2014.”

Dreams do come true. Amani’s biggest dream is to further her education so she can help develop her beloved country and its people. She is grateful for your support that enables her to attend Bujumbura International University: “I am who I am today cause of BFI.” We are grateful for you, Amani, especially your passion and commitment! BFI is honored to help Amani make her dream a reality.

Together We Can:
The BFI Gitega Women Empowerment Club

Odette Habonimana is a perfect example of how the volunteers of BFI work to transform your gifts into life-changing opportunities for the people of Burundi.

Odette majored in English Literature at the National University of Burundi. She is a BFI English Club volunteer and also a coordinator for the Martin Luther King American Corner in Gitega. That would be enough for most people! But Odette saw that the women of Gitega needed more. She resolved to form a Women Empowerment Club.


This Is Odette’s Vision

BFI News2 Burundi MeetingThe Women Empowerment Club will focus on women’s rights and their abilities to change the community.
• The Club will teach women of all ages how to use their talents to develop Burundi families, socially and economically.
• BFI will coordinate local and national efforts to empower women.
• BFI will work to ensure that women have an equal voice in all institutions, public dialogue, and decision-making to determine the future of their families and country.
• BFI will work to ensure that women are educated at a high level and have financial means to invest in all domains in which they are able to work.

Big Challenges

Odette gathered an enthusiastic group of more than 100 women. But the details were challenging. How would youdesign a program for 69 illiterate women, 9 high school students, and 30 university students? She developed a 9-month program of weekly meetings with a parallel track for literacy training in small groups. Each month has a different focus: the importance of women empowerment; developing personal goals; balancing commitments; money and time management; ideas for business start-ups; reacting to challenges; project and business planning; entrepreneurship; starting a new business; and computer skills.

Huge Results

The first cohort began in November 2015. When the training concludes in July 2016, more than 100 women will have gained essential skills to advance women’s rights and reduce poverty through sustainable economic development.

Each participant will be able to:
• Know what types of businesses are appropriate for her region;
• Analyze the feasibility of the business she wants to start up;
• Write a proposal and explore funding opportunities;
• Collaborate with other businesswomen to broaden her network;
• Begin following a path to an independent life through hard work.

Please join BFI as we work to support Odette and the women of Gitega.

Interested in Creative Ways to Help?

BFI News2 Ways to HelpAt BFI, we encourage creative giving tailored to your own interests and situation. We are endlessly grateful for your financial support, but you may also want to help in other ways.

Is an in-kind donation intriguing? One generous supporter gave 15 thermometers and 23 packages of sphygmomanometers and stethoscopes, worth $2500! They are crossing the ocean in a medical equipment and supplies shipment valued at more than $655,000, and will arrive in Burundi in July.

Would you like to volunteer with BFI? We welcome you with open arms, many opportunities, and a supportive team.

Here’s an option that is quick and easy: donating unused frequent flyer miles to BFI.

How would you like to get involved? Let’s start a conversation.