‘Residential training centre in French and Kirundi gives returned refugees hope for the future.’
The RET, with assistance from UNHCR and DFID, has recently opened a French and Kirundi residential training centre at Giharo, in the province of Rutana. The course is aimed at the returnee children or grandchildren of the 1972 caseload of refugees who fled Burundi to Tanzania and who had to bring their children up in exile. The course should provide a helping hand in the youths’ integration into Burundian society, where they are now living, having spent almost all of their lives living in camps in Tanzania.
The inauguration ceremony, held at Giharo in early May, was attended by Marceline Bararufise (the Governor of Rutana Province), Simeon Ngenzebuhoro (the Provincial Director of Education), Jean-Marie Rurankiriza (Chief Government official for Community Colleges), as well as a senior member of RET HQ staff, who flew out for the occasion. In addition, the media were present in the form of 2 national Burundian news channels who documented the day on camera (see separate clip).
Giharo’s new course is vital for returnee youth, as during their exile in Tanzania, they only attended classes in English and Swahili, the two languages of Tanzania, so their knowledge of French and Kirundi (those of Burundi) is limited at best, dependent upon relatives teaching them continuously.