Burundian students seek schools in Rwanda

Thousands of Burundian students have begun academic year in Rwanda or Uganda

Burundian students seek schools in Rwanda

World Bulletin / News Desk

Born and raised in Burundi, thousands of students have traveled, sometimes up to 900 kilometers (560 miles), to seek an education that is no longer accessible in a country that has fallen prey to serious political and security turmoil.

The Burundian crisis started in April 2015 when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced his candidacy for a controversial third term.

Since then, more than 400 people have been killed and tens of thousands have fled the country to seek refuge in neighboring states within the East African region, mostly in Rwanda.

And parents have preferred to send their children to Rwandan and Ugandan schools.

Adelaide, a journalist in local media and also former resident of Ngagara, one of the more rebellious zones in the northern part of the capital Bujumbura, decided to send her daughter to study in Mbarara, in southwestern Uganda, a few months after the outbreak of the crisis. 

"The growing insecurity prompted me to send my eldest outside Burundi, despite my modest financial means,”she told Anadolu Agency.

Adelaide said stress and absenteeism caused by the ongoing insecurity across the country had had a negative impact on her daughter’s education.

She said her 15-year-old daughter had experienced too many sleepless nights due to bombings.

"With the crisis, the program is turned upside down. Children have no time to concentrate and may become discouraged by seeing dead bodies littering the streets, processions and coffins every day,” she said.

Another parent who spoke on condition of anonymity said he had sent his two children to Rwanda last year.

“Back home, my two boys in secondary school failed and were arrested twice by police. Frightened, they could not go to school and missed several lessons," he said.

He proceeded to sell a parcel of land to send his to Rwanda. "I rented them a small room for about $200 a month," he says. The food and the other requirements cost him about $500 a month.

Despite these expenses that often exceed his means, he said he was delighted to see his sons alive, continuing their studies far from explosions and gunshots in Burundi.

At least 19,422  Burundian students have enrolled in the Rwandan national education system since July 2015, according to UNICEF.

The number of Burundian refugees in Rwanda has reached 76,603, with 48,450 registered in Mahama Camp. The remaining refugees are located in reception centers (approximately 3,500) or in Kigali and other urban areas (approximately 23,500), according to a UNICEF report published in April.

“The total number of refugees in Rwanda has slightly increased since March, with UNHCR registering nearly 1,700 additional Burundian refugees since last month,” the report added.

Hundreds of thousands of Burundians students in Burundi started the new academic year Monday. 


Güncelleme Tarihi: 29 Eylül 2016, 10:00