Amahoro Youth Club, Burundi
A new generation dawns in Burundi
Burundi is a small country that has suffered brutal war. Five percent of the population were killed in the 15 years that war raged and a further ten percent were forced to abandon their homes as armed militia rampaged through the countryside. It was only in 2009 that the last rebel group laid down their arms. 65% of the population of Burundi are under the age of 20. These young people face many challenges – widespread extreme poverty, a lack of education and the mental scars of a childhood spent in the shadow of war. Local peacebuilder Landry Ninteretse was just nine years old when war broke out.
At 16, everyone I knew was talking about joining either the army or a rebel group, it was all we knew. I felt so helpless seeing this violence around me, picking up a weapon seemed the only answer. But when my cousin was killed I began to question, to think, and to hope for a violence free society. I knew I was not the only one looking for an alternative but it took me seven years to find people who thought the same as me - Landry Ninteretse
In 2007 Landry and two others set up the Action for Peace and Development (APD) – they now have 25 volunteers changing attitudes towards violence among today’s students – the next generation of Burundi’s leaders. They have plans to expand their projects to reach young people living in remote communities, to build a movement of young people across Burundi dedicated to making peace last.