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.