Thank you

Way back in November we invited you to take part in the Big Give Christmas Challenge. Every pound you donated was doubled by our friends at Shoe Zone and The Reed Foundation. In total, including Gift Aid, you helped to raise an incredible £69,733.25. 

You may remember that we were raising money for a brilliant project in Burundi, and how it had already helped rebuild the life of a young woman called Séraphine (pictured above). The project was called ‘Gender and Youth Promotion Initiative’ or GYPI and we are thrilled to tell you what your fantastic donations achieved! 

GYPI was designed to address: 

  1. Women and young people living in extreme poverty. 
  2. Women and young people living with severe mental health issues. 
  3. Invisible wounds and tensions within communities which easily lead to violent conflict.  

Burundi is the world’s poorest country and is struggling to rise out of a devastatingly violent past. Even though there has been relative peace for some years, ordinary people still suffer the impact of the war.  

Women and young people suffer the most, especially those who have been forced into exile, lost family members and survived sexual or gender-based violence.  

With your support, we set up 100 Self Help Groups in three Provinces – Rumonge, Makamba and Rutana. Each group had 25 members, so you helped a staggering 2,500 people in total. The groups had two aims: 

Supporting people out of poverty 

Your donations paid for training and investment so that group members could earn a regular income. Some people grew crops, others bred chickens or goats. Other activities included soap making, sewing and selling food. Thanks to you, 95% of members’ income increased. 

Poverty plays a huge role when it comes to people’s mental health. 26% of group members said that their recovery from trauma was hindered by financial challenges. This is why it was so important to address people’s practical needs as well as their psychological difficulties. 

Tackling mental health challenges 

The groups were a safe space where members could openly talk about trauma and mental health challenges. Peer leaders helped them to discuss coping techniques. It stopped them from feeling isolated and meant they were more likely to seek professional help. Those who did access professional help did so through workshops, counselling sessions and awareness programs. Because of your kindness, an amazing 99% of group members said that their mental health had improved.  

Building peace and preventing conflict 

Your generosity helped to improve people’s mental health and financial situations, which has had a massive effect on how they feel about themselves, their families and communities. Thanks to GYPI, people are now taking part in activities to strengthen peace and benefit their regions. This has included repairing roads, bridges and building offices for local officials. They have also worked together to support the most disadvantaged people in their communities, whether they were members of the Self Help Groups or not. 

Long term transformation 

Better mental health and a secure income has changed the lives of group members as well as their families. Many women have reported improvements in family life with more peaceful marriages and better relationships between children and parents. 

GYPI has also helped women develop leadership skills. 15 women were elected during recent regional elections. Other women have expressed a desire to take positions of responsibility and leadership in their communities. This could really help to change attitudes towards women and further reduce issues around domestic and gender-based violence. 

Finally, perhaps one of the most exciting outcomes of GYPI is the fact that a total of 14 new Self Help Groups have been set up. These are on top of the 25 groups that were originally started. The wider population saw how positive the groups were and wanted to experience the benefits for themselves. 

So, an enormous thank you for your amazing support! As you can see, you’ve made a remarkable difference to the lives of 2,500 people and many more thousands who live in their communities!

Please help create more stories of hope and healing by making a donation TODAY

Cord’s vision is a world where all people can live life to the full, in peace.
Peace means hope and healing for victims in safe and stable societies.
Peace means freedom, and people reaching their potential.
Help restore peace so that people can prosper.

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