Building a safe home and a bright future for homeless girls in Gitega

W0330 girls

Building a safe home and a bright future for homeless girls in Gitega

After years of conflict, many families in Gitega, Burundi’s second largest city, are simply too poor to feed themselves. There are thousands of children forced to fend for themselves, and many live on the streets. Children are the ones who suffer the most, the lack of nutritious food makes them weak and drinking dirty water makes them ill.

Sadly, many young children have no choice but to care for their younger siblings and struggle to fend for themselves. This is what happened to Cynthia. She has been caring for her 2 young brothers since she was just 7 years old.

When her father died, Cynthia’s mother tried everything she could to feed her young children. But opportunities to make a living in Gitega are few and far between and she eventually turned to prostitution to make ends meet. Even that wasn’t enough.

Unfortunately Cynthia’s mother ended up drinking to cope. Soon she became dependent on alcohol and could no longer look after her children. Despite the neighbours helping out where they could, the children would still be left without food for days at a time. They had nothing and no one to turn to.

Cynthia was trapped as unpaid servant by a cruel family who make her work in awful conditions for long hours and refused to pay her or let her leave. She suffered silently for over a year, trapped, alone and with no one to trust. Her only alternative was to live on the streets.

Eventually she escaped and she was found by our Street Children Project which provides a safe and loving home for children as well as nutritious meals and a place in school. At last, Cynthia is safe and no longer has to struggle just to survive. She has her childhood back and can feel excited about her future.
She told me how she feels about her new home:

“Now I feel secure. I don’t have to worry about food and I have a nice place to sleep. The centre is great, I’m back at school and I feel loved by the staff and the other girls. We are like a family!”

You can save a homeless girl like Cynthia from a lifetime of struggle by supporting our projects. Thank you.