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Burundi's President Praises World Relief Programs

President Visits Victims of Africa's "Hidden Genocide"


Andrea Kaufmann, Marketing & Communications Manager, World Relief, 443-451-1900


MEDIA ADVISORY, Jan. 5 /Christian Newswire/ -- The President of Burundi commended World Relief's work after seeing the tremendous difference made by local churches in the wake of his nation's horrific civil war.


Photo: President Nkurunziza applauds as he delivers a World Relief goat to a widow as part of his trip.  During his visit, he also visited homes, a health center, and water distribution center built by World Relief.


"It is obvious from what I have seen today that World Relief works in a way that shows Christ's love. When others are not coming to Burundi, you are here representing Christians around the world," said President Pierre Nkurunziza.


President Nkurunziza's visit to the war-ravaged Nyanza Lac region just before Christmas spotlighted the critical role of World Relief and local churches in recovery efforts.


The 11-year tribal conflict that claimed 300,000 lives and displaced more than one million people has been called Africa's 'hidden genocide' – eclipsed by the 1994 genocide in neighboring Rwanda.


The Church Responds


Since the war in Burundi ended in 2004, World Relief has been working with local churches in Nyanza Lac to help refugees and displaced families rebuild and start over.


Aided by U.S. government funding, World Relief and our church partners built a health clinic, provided clean water sources for more than 2,000 vulnerable households, distributed mosquito-repelling bed nets and de-worming tablets, built community latrines, and helped reconstruct 400 homes. We also trained the local people in good health and hygiene practices.


The next phase includes sanitation, housing construction, farming assistance and a goat-breeding project.


Partnering with Habitat for Humanity and Tearfund Belgium, World Relief will help rebuild another 1,450 homes. Each household digs the pit latrine and builds the walls – and World Relief provides materials and labor for the windows, door, roof and cement floor.


With an estimated 430,000 Burundians scattered in neighboring countries and waiting to return home, the task of rebuilding and rehabilitation is huge.


The church is the only organization found in every village and every community. World Relief is convinced that when local churches are empowered to help, they can transform their communities from within – bringing lasting change and real hope amidst the ravages of war.


"Please continue and expand your activities here, because we see in the surrounding hills many others who are in need of your help," said President Nkurunziza.