World Vision Burundi
article • Monday, February 13th 2017

Girls’ economic empowerment reduces sexual assaults

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Ortine, her mom nurture a hope for a bright future

Mutoni Wase Ortine, a 3-year-old child, living in Muyinga center, province of Muyinga, Northeast of Burundi can now have access to basic needs. Her mom, Ines Nishemezwe, conceived her while she was still in her 3rd year of secondary school studies and not in a position to provide of a child. Thanks to a World vision support that trained her in soap making, she is now self-reliant and able to provide quality food and beautiful clothes to her daughter.

 “Life became tougher since I got pregnant, I had to move from place to place to seek for accommodation and food support,” says Ines Nihemezwe.  After conceiving, Ines could neither expect support from her family that was living far, nor from her lover who disappeared as soon as he learnt that she was pregnant. Worse still, she had to drop out of school against her will.

In Burundi, most young girls who become pregnant before they are married are left to rely on themselves. Some girls choose to abort the baby while others throw their babies at birth. According to UNFPA, around 3000 girls in Burundi dropout of school yearly due to unwanted pregnancies.

In Muyinga center, Ines and other 44 young girls came together and made 2 associations after which, they approached World Vision for support. They were trained in soap making and Ines; who could hardly pay her rent or have good food, is now able to live a better life thanks to the proceeds from the soap business.  “We did not know that girls could make it, but as we started, the business thrived and we are happy”, says Ines.

 After selling, the money is saved and members of the association are allowed to lend in order to respond to urgent needs. “Since then, life became bearable. You can see my young child is healthier,” adds Ines.

Ines is committed to her association’s activities and pays tribute to it. The entity has also become a safe space for supporting each other. “Our wish is to eradicate dependency which is likely to lead to teenage pregnancy, “We have also been trained in farming, and record keeping in our saving group,” she concludes.

Thanks to a law that was recently enforced, Ines has resumed school. Previously, this could not happen, as education for schoolgirls who became pregnant would permanently be discontinued. World Vision staff in Muyinga advocate for a continued acceptance in schools for such girls once they opt to go back to school. Pushing with her studies is Ines’ goal and her call to school girls is not to indulge themselves in behaviors that would endanger their lives.

 

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