Burundi: How your Sponsorship helped reduce the literacy gap in rural communities

By Nukunu Nanedo, Senior Portfolio Advisor, Burundi

Many parents in the remote, rural communities of Burundi never imagined that their children could read and write like the privileged children from rich homes in the cities. To the surprise of these parents in the Cumba area of Burundi, differences in wealth and geographical location are no longer a barrier to their children’s ability to read and write. The reason is a puzzle for them to solve.

A search for why and how their children could read and write led parents to learn that support from Australian sponsors broke the education barrier between their children and the few privileged children from rich homes.

The situation before World Vision started the Cumba project

Five years ago, the province had only two kindergartens suited for 80 pupils for each. But the province lacked education facilities. It was characterised with overcrowded classrooms with an average of 142 pupils, and there was also school gender inequality and early child marriage. Education for girls was considered useless because girls were perceived to be for marriage. Children were also not going to school at their appropriate age. School dropout rates were high because parents couldn’t afford their children’s school fees and also due to the long distances the children had to travel to school. Children worked with their parents on their farms at the expense of their education. All these were barriers to children’s education and school performance in the province when World Vision started the Cumba sponsorship project.

Burundi: addressing the literacy crisis

There is a global learning crisis. 250 million children cannot read or write by the time they reach grade 4. World Vision is working with communities around the world to address this problem through a program called Literacy Boost.

The results from the project after four years

Because of sponsorship funds, World Vision was able to repair one of the kindergartens that was destroyed by weather and provide resources alongside its entire education program in the Cumba project. A total of 176 school desks were purchased for seven schools – this reduced the pupil-to-desk ratio. In addition, 753 school books were also given to schools to improve the quality of children’s education. There are now three kindergartens in the Cumba project as a result of World Vision encouraging and working with local government to see the need.

World Vision also carried out community outreach to educate more than 1000 parents on the importance of their children’s education to boost children’s school enrolment across six communities. The parents were also trained to teach their children at home if the schools were too far away.

Since 2014, regular children’s reading camps have been established as a literacy boost program by World Vision and the communities where children can practise reading and writing after school to improve their skills. As a result, more than 2000 children are participating and are now able to read and write because of the work made possible by Australian supporters.

Through your support of World Vision Burundi’s community-based child protection and advocacy programs, 35 people were trained in child rights and how to report child abuse. Because of this, three children who were denied education by their parents were brought back to school. The community’s education office has seen fantastic results and has reported that 4694 pupils have an improved learning environment.

Bridging the education gap between the rich and those in poverty in Burundi over the past five years wouldn’t have been possible without Burundi child sponsors like you.

Support from Australians like you is helping to bridge the gap between the children living in the poorer provinces of Burundi and those of the cities. These children of the Cumba project are able to cross over to socio-economic well-being. We so appreciate your assistance to build bridges to reduce the education gap in Cumba and elsewhere that is helping to provide meaning to life for many poor children in Burundi.