In 1995, JRS began working in the country with internally displaced Burundians, as well as thousands of refugees arriving from Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Twelve years of civil war between the Tutsi-dominated army and Hutu rebel factions had left more than 300,000 dead and injured, and led to large-scale displacement inside and outside the country.
After the return of relative peace to the region, the Jesuit Refugee Service shifted its support to the integration of more than 500,000 former refugees who began returning home from Tanzania in 2002. At this time, JRS began to gradually close down its remaining projects and was gradually closing down its remaining projects as the country was recovering from the lengthy and devastating civil war. Nevertheless, the outbreak of civil conflict in 2015 and a reprisal of a new rebellion are having disastrous consequences for Burundi.
The population is already facing one of the highest poverty levels in the world: the effects of the international economic crises, corruption-related problems, and prolonged draught has created a critical food insecurity situation-nearly one million people are estimated to be severely food insecure. Moreover, this recent crisis has interrupted the reintegration process of former Burundian refugees returning home after spending several years in Tanzanian refugee camps. All of these occurrences exacerbate a situation already weakened by the deterioration of the socio-economic situation that prevails in the country and affects all households, especially those that belong to refugees’ ones who remain the most vulnerable.
To face this situation, JRS teams work in the city of Bujumbura in Ruyigi and Muyinga provinces providing nursery, primary, and secondary education as well as vocational training to Congolese refugees with the funding of UNHCR.
JRS facilitates this formal and informal education in the camps of Kinama and Musasa in Muyinga, and Kavumu and Bwagiriza in Ruyigi, where more than 32,000 Congolese families are long-term settled. Furthermore, early childhood development and sport and leisure activities are also implemented to promote psychosocial welfare for refugee children in the camps.
With the support of Fund For Women, some 300 urban refugees (mostly girls) living in Bujumbura, the capital city, have access to public education and livelihood trainings to promote improvements of their socioeconomic situation and their integration in the surrounding local communities.
The consistent presence of JRS in the target camps allows the organization to identify those most in need.
Great Lakes Africa
+257 78 991 302
JRS Great Lakes Africa is one of 10 geographic regions of the Jesuit Refugee Service, an international Catholic organization sponsored by the Society of Jesus. The regional office coordinates the delivery of education, housing, psychosocial and recreational services, as well emergency assistance and support to become self-sufficient, to vulnerable refugee and other displaced populations in Tanzania, Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo.
Democratic Republic of Congo
United States of America
Central African Republic