Barred from School in Burundi?

child in school uniform

Last year at this time I penned the following, which is the same situation today:

Aaarrgh! I write this angry and sad and tearful and frustrated. And I want to write now whilst I feel deeply raw. I’ve said before how I love and hate Burundi in equal measure. I love the people – their faith, generosity, perseverance; but I hate the poverty, injustice and suffering.

I’ve just had a horrible conversation with a wonderful woman. This is the hardest time of the year for folks here, because it’s back to school for the kids – or not, as the case may be. Through tears she pleaded with me on behalf of her staff:

“Simon, we can’t send our children back to school this Monday because we have no money to buy the uniform and school book and pencil. We go without food, sanitary towels, everything, but still can’t make it. It’s often the children of parents in ministry who are the first to drop out. Please, please help my team, I beg you!”

What do I say to that? I love her, her gospel ministry (in this case through the radio), her faithful colleagues working for a pittance (or actually not getting any salary for the last number of months because there’s no money in the kitty).

I’m a parent. My kids have always been able to attend school. If you’re a parent, it probably never crossed your mind that they wouldn’t go to school. What would I not do for my kids? It’s so unfair.

So, my beloved, beautiful, broken Burundi, I hate you at times. How I wrestle with these totally non-abstract issues that smack me in the face daily here…

Will you hear Rachel’s plea through me? One of my roles is as a voice for the voiceless. “Please, please, I beg you!” £20/$25 would get one child back to school for this week for the coming year. Could you help 1, 3, 5, 10?

Her line haunts me: “It’s often the children of parents in ministry who are the first to drop out.”

That is SO WRONG!

We are now directly linked with 510 families and wanting to provide each of them with a gift that will be the answer from God that they have been praying for, so that their their kids are not barred from school. If you want to donate, please click here. If we reach our target, the excess will go into meeting other crucial needs.

Be very blessed today! Be a blessing today!

7 Comments15064 views


  • How do I provide support?

  • Simon,
    I will support as I am able, knowing that ‘every little helps’. But please could you tell me (excusing my ignorance!) just WHY it is that basic education is so relatively expensive in Burundi?

    • Books, equipment, uniforms, supplies, all cost….

  • Home schooling can help and if there are other ministry children not able to get to school. Pool resources and form a home schooling community. Often, missionary families only have access to home schooling. It may be beneficial and cheaper to look at joining a home schooling on line facility too. I don’t know if Burundi has good internet. But many missionary families in rural Cambodia, have no choice but to home school and the children can be really ahead educationally. It’s often a great opportunity for parents and children to learn together. Teachers don’t know it all , we learn as we teach. Thanks.

  • Hi Simon. Is it £20 per week per child for school for the year? Or £20 per child for the year?

    • £20 is just to pay the initial costs of uniform and books and pens to then enter the school year. Hopefully that makes sense.

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