After experiencing great difficulty in supporting her family, Felicité Cimbaye can finally say that she is now capable of investing in her life - quite literally.
She is 50-year-old widow with 4 children, and lives on Mwendo hill, which is located in the Kayanza commune, in Northern Burundi. She struggled a lot after her husband passed away, until one of her children entered the Distance support program, carried out by AVSI with the support of Italian benefactors.
The program provides kids with educational and psychosocial support, but not only that: it also comprises a wide arrange of actions aimed at fostering the development and wellbeing of the whole household. It is within this framework that Felicité has put her heart and soul into carrying on with the activities offered by the program, until she eventually became a successful model for the whole community.
She got introduced to the "community savings and internal credit" approach, which based on a common fund formed by a self-selecting group of people. Only members can borrow from the fund and loans are repaid with interest, thus increasing the total sum. Thanks to this micro-credit practice, Felicité could invest in agriculture, growing maize, beans and potatoes, as well as in breeding backyard animals: she now owns cows and pigs.
In November 2020, after the coronavirus pandemic broke out, in order to be sure her family could have better hygiene and therefore be able to protect themselves, she connected her household to drinking water, which is quite a luxury in the area. She managed to do so by being able to invest 500,000 Burundian francs (ca. 218 euros). Furthermore, she attended awareness sessions, which were organized through the Distance support program, and learned about how to prevent the coronavirus from spreading.
"AVSI is almost like a relative to me, because I owe them a lot" Felicité says.
She has now achieved financial autonomy and is happy to play an inspiring role in her own community, thanks to the commitment she took on in following and carrying out the good practices the Distance support program introduced her to.
The Distance support program in Burundi
AVSI Distant support program was first implemented in Burundi in 2001. Its main objective is to improve the quality of life of vulnerable children, along with their families. In this country, it targets households in the Northern provinces of Bujumbura, as well as in three communes in the province of Kayanza (Muruta, Kayanza, Matongo) and the Busiga commune in the province of Ngozi.