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Burundi:

 

 

Since 2014, Alexis has been the mission director of PL4Y International in Burundi. He lives in Bujumbura, where his offices of PL4Y international are also located. In the capital of Burundi, the atmosphere remains tense after the first demonstrations and failed rebellion attempts against the president Pierre Nkurunziza, who intends to run for a third term after 10 years in power.

 

Alexis talks about the latest events that shook the country and enlightens us on the continuation of the missions of the NGO in the capital and interior of Burundi.

 

Since 2008, PL4Y International continues to direct its activities with the children of the local schools, streets or IDP camps.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How did you experience the latest events from the Burundian capital?

 

Until Wednesday, the city center was relatively spared. The protests were confined to popular neighborhoods where the majority of the population lives. The jubilation that followed the overthrow of power lasted into the night by violent clashes. We were awakened by gunfire and explosions that continued well into the day Thursday. We needed to stay protected and locked up, we could not take the risk of leaving where we were. Friday, the day after the failed overthrow of power, the situation was relatively calm. Some shops were timidly reopened, residents gradually returned to walking in the streets. But confusion still dominates

 

 

How has the situation in Bujumbura evolved?

 

This Sunday was declared “truce day” by the demonstrators. However, we feel a restlessness within the population, since the leaders of the movement “Stop the third term” claimed that the protests would resume on Monday. Here, everyone is wondering if the protests will really continue and what will be the consequences if they do. The question is being asked of what it will be like when all is said and done. There is a feeling incertitude given the fact that all the private media groups, which were informational relays from the demonstrators, were cut by loyalist forces. Similarly, social networks are blocked. Rumors now dominate all form of communication, filled with both true and false information.

 

 

“Certain activities had to be properly managed”

 

 

How do you work there ?

 

We do what we can… After April 26, the offices of the NGO, found in Bujumbura have been closed for a week. During a short break, we were able to open the premises on a voluntary basis. According to the neighborhoods where they live, some colleagues were able to come to work, others could not. Most reside in the neighborhoods of the capital and were stranded in their homes. This Monday, the International PL4Y office is closed in order to take time to analyze the situation.

 

Exactly which of the International PL4Y activities could continue? 

 

The contestation is concentrated in the capital, less in the outlying lands. Some activities within public youth centers of the Ministry of Sports of Burundi, where we work, were able to be maintained or upgraded. Others did not last. It depended on the day. In the interior of the country, the activities implemented with UNDP, in youth centers continues. With daily monitoring by phone. As for the training of young practitioners in inclusive education, workshops were suspended. The teachers could not reach their places of work as well as some of the beneficiaries.

 

What are the feelings within the team?

 

We feel a strong anxiety and a feeling of suffering. Some Burundian colleagues sent their families abroad, in neighboring countries. Its fear mixed with resignation. If the context is different from the civil war (1993-2006), these events remind everyone of those bad memories.

 

  • PL4Y International in Burundi is :

 

96,849 children beneficiaries in schools

 

20,000 investments in youth centers

 

517 trained practitioners (professors and teachers, field officers of the International Rescue Committee, stakeholders trained)

 

In November 2014, in the show The New Explorers, Manuel Herrero discovers the sporting culture of three countries within the Great Lakes region. This 52 minute documentary presents the actions of PL4Y International in the IDP camps of Bujumbura in Burundi.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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