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Human Rights in Burundi and the Maison Shalom
Burundi, like neighboring Rwanda, was ravaged by civil war and ethnic violence in the 1990s, which killed around 300.000 people. Although the situation seems slightly improved, the country is still in a very bad shape and the per capita GDP is one of the lowest in the world.
The Maison Shalom was created by Maggy Barankitse. As an eyewitness of the killings in 1993, she sheltered 25 children whose parents had been murdered in her home. Since then, the structure she put in place never ceased to increase. It is estimated that around 20.000 children had been helped by her organization.
Today Maggy is a personality renowned worldwide, and a winner of several humanitarian prizes, including UNHCR’s Nansen Award. Her name has often been pronounced as a possible Nobel Prize for Peace laureate, and her work has been compared to the work of Mother Teresa.
The Support Centre for Sexually-abused Girls
Friends of Humanity has been working constantly with Maggy since 2008, mainly in the Rema Hospital. This year we are supporting her new project, which is focused on helping sexually-abused children. The action will cover several aspects of the issue by providing health care and shelter to the victims as well as legal support to pursue legal action against the rapists.
Official reports indicated that about 176 young girls had to leave school after getting pregnant in Ruyigi. The Maison Shalom intends to help these young victims by providing basic health support and necessary treatments for those infected with HIV/AIDS.
Maison Shalom also helps young girls by supporting return to school if they dropped out, by providing a home to those who are separated from the families, by helping to get back in touch with their family and community, and by ensuring legal support and protection for those who are brave enough to pursue legal action against their rapists.
In 2012 the Maison Shalom aims to receive one hundred children in their shelter structure, and to help another few dozen children with their medical, legal or educational issues. With this support the girls will have the necessary tools to overcome their trauma and come back to a normal life.