Pascaline has gone from being a refugee, trying to survive and keep her children alive, to a successful business owner and community leader working to sustain lasting peace.
This is a far cry from the time when her family fled the devastating violence of Burundi’s civil war. For four years they were refugees with no access to the most basic needs. They were constantly ill. Eventually they could survive no longer and returned home despite the continued violence because they feared dying far from their family.
They returned home only to find that their home and belongings had been taken. They were once again living in a divided community with a constant threat of violence.
Facing poverty and instability, it was at this point in her life that she became part of one of Cord’s project’s, which works with women, children, youth, and other vulnerable groups as they return and settle back into their communities following a time as refugees. It focused on supporting people to set up savings and loans groups, access psychological support, and to learn about conflict and how to avoid violence
Through this project, Pascaline became part of a self-help group where she was trained in conflict resolution and non-violent communication. She also learned about loans, savings, and small business management.
She explained the impact it has had on her:
“…my confidence and wellbeing have improved through the training and support I received from Cord.”
Pascaline now runs a small successful business and supports her family. She leads five self-help groups which contribute to a more peaceful and prosperous community. She recognises the importance this plays in ensuring lasting peace. Pascaline expanded:
“…with the other women leaders, we are proud that we can contribute to greater cohesion in our community which is still exposed to divisive factors.”
Your support means that more women like Pascaline can live life to the full. Our training means that people in Burundi are rising out of poverty and, crucially, gaining the skills needed to build peace and prosperity in their communities.