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25 February Feb 2014 1640 25 February 2014

Together for education. Burundi’s faces on display at the United Nations Office in Geneva

Starting on March 4th, “Ensemble” will tell the story of the MEO Centre in Burundi, supported by the Italian NGO AVSI Foundation and Fondation d’Harcourt, aiming at rebuilding the future of a community devastated by war.

An original, unusual exhibition. Within the dramatic framework  that is Africa, Ensemble’s images detect a path of hope among children’s eyes and women’s smiles giving a face to  the dignity of the person as a unique and unrepeatable being. Beyond poverty or sickness. Beyond hunger or abandonment.
“Ensemble”, that is to say “together”, because development means companionship and growth of the person.  As for Elie, 22 years old, living in a slum of Bujumbura, who, thanks to the companionship found at the Meo Centre can now attend university: “AVSI gave me the chance to grow up and to believe in a better future”.
The United Nations Office in Geneva celebrates the experience of the MEO centre in Burundi by hosting a photo exhibition organized by AVSI Foundation and Fondation d’Harcourt.
From 4th  to 21st  March “Ensemble” presents a short video and thirteen still images captured by the American photographer Brett Morton. He shows many years of commitment to human rights through the faces, gestures and smiles of a whole community which has been given new life via education.
The exhibition aims to document how development first and foremost comes from the enhancement of the dignity of the person, from education and the companionship given to each human being who is enabled to find his or her own path in life.
The “Lino Lava” MEO (Mamans Enfants Orphelins, i.e. Mothers Children Orphans) centre is located in Cibitoke, one of the Northern suburbs of Bujumbura, the capital city of Burundi, and is a safe and secure meeting point for children, their mothers and war orphans.
The centre has been built thanks to the support of CBAU (Comunità Biellese Aiuti Umanitari), a not-for-profit organization based in Italy (Biella) which has been working with AVSI since 1999.
Since 2012, the activities of the centre have been significantly improved as a result of the contribution of Fondation d’Harcourt, which pays special attention to the psychosocial development of children and their families. Today, the centre is managed by 6 social workers reaching around 800 children and their families, a total of about 3 thousand people involved.