Political instability in Burundi is causing hardship and suffering for ordinary people on an enormous scale. Nearly a year of insecurity has left 900,000 people facing hunger, unable to cope with rising food prices caused by the economic fallout following a disputed presidential election. And this is in a country where poverty is widespread and 90 per cent of Burundians rely on small-scale agriculture for a living. Tearfund is one of the few international aid organiations supporting humanitarian work in Burundi. Our partner, the Anglican Diocese of Matana is helping to feed the most desperate. Here are some of their stories from Bururi province:
Habonimana Daphrose, 30, is married with seven children:
'Our four-year-old son Horusenga Zachee was very ill. He had lost his appetite and was very thin. Our neighbours told us to consult witchdoctors if we wanted him to survive. But as Christians, we refused their advice and we asked for the prayers of other Christians for the child.
'One day, we were informed there are people who help such children, here at the Anglican Church of Kiruri. I brought my child and when they put him on the scales, he weighed 5kgs. He was diagnosed with severe malnutrition.
'They gave us the porridge and taught us how to prepare it. I did exactly as I had been taught, and after a month the child weighed 6.5kgs, after two months 8kgs. He started to get his appetite back, to speak and even to play with the others, which he didn’t do before.
'Now, he weighs 14kgs. You can see yourself how he is in good health. I’m very glad.
'The church also encouraged us to farm cereals, and to prepare the flour ourselves without having to receive it from them.
'May God bless Tearfund and the Anglican Church of Matana for this great work. Now, I support all my neighbours to feed their children better so that they don’t become ill.'
Ndayisenga Agnes, 35, has a seven-year-old daughter, Bimenyimana Yvette, who had been suffering from malnutrition until the church offered assistance:
'We were taught about the different types of food and how we can combine them to have a complete diet. We were given flour to make porridge for children, and taught how to prepare it.
'I have realised that it was all ignorance on my part. I advise all the mothers to visit the health centres to receive information about how to feed their children before they become ill.
'Now, my daughter has started primary school, when before she could not even walk.'