Pegge Stewart of CC4Africa with students at an English class

Canadian Communities 4 Africa travels to Burundi and Congo

Canadian Communities 4 Africa travels to Burundi and Congo

Canadian Communities 4 Africa Hope Society directors Teresa Corbould and Pegge Stewart travelled to Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo in October to visit the orphans at New Hope Centre and the CRIB House, and to look at the various projects.

The Society is committed to supporting the education of the orphans at New Hope Centre in Bujumbura and at Emmanuel Centre at Marungu on the High Plateau in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. To date, funds for school fees, uniforms, shoes and supplies have been provided.  CC4A is currently seeking sponsors for the children at Emmanuel Centre.

The pair travelled to Uvira, which is just across the border in Congo, for a day and attended a school graduation ceremony. The escalating unrest and dangerous travelling conditions in Congo forced the cancellation of a planned five-day trip to stay with the children at Emmanuel Centre in Marungu.

A highlight of the trip was spending time with the children and mamas at New Hope Centre in Burundi.  Ray and Mary Anne Bale had established an English primary school for the youngest children (21 altogether) in their home, which CC4A supported for two years. While there, Teresa and Pegge assisted Mary Anne in teaching English to the mamas and staff.

The English curriculum at the Bales’ school prepared the children for admission to the Kings School in the fall of 2012. This school was founded by Christine Chapman some years ago for the CRIB orphans, and it is the only English school in Bujumbura.

The pair travelled upcountry with Dr. Aline Muryango to the city of Gitega in central Burundi to visit the Gitega Clinic complex. In 2008, the BC2Africa barbecue and auction raised funds for the construction of Phase One of the clinic project so it was gratifying to see the progress.

The first building constructed in 2008 is used for administration offices, the laboratory and, until now, has been functioning as the maternity clinic. In 2009, World Emergency Relief (now Emerge Poverty Free), an NGO based in London, England, built Phase Two, which consists of a pharmacy, a nutrition centre, consultation rooms and long-term care rooms.

In 2011, Teresa Corbould, Jennifer Taylor, Taisa Anderson and Carmen Svisdahl participated in the Edge-to-Edge Marathon on Vancouver Island in order to raise funds to construct Phase Three, the new maternity clinic. This year Teresa and her husband Keith raised additional funds by doing a marathon in Italy.

When the group arrived at the complex, the vaccination clinic and the bi-weekly nutrition program were underway. Two mothers who had delivered their babies that morning talked with the group. On average, 49 babies are born there each month. Because of limited space in the current building, the nursing staff is very much looking forward to the move into the new maternity clinic. CC4A is currently helping to get the Clinic hooked up to the power grid.

When board members of BC2A first visited Gitega in 2007, there were no medical facilities to service the area outside of Bujumbura, the capital. There was a huge need to provide health care and support to women and children as well as education and treatment programs for those suffering from HIV/AIDS.

Dr. Aline Muryango, the administrator who has overseen the construction and running of the clinic, has used the complex as a base for health care and education.

Emerge Poverty Free has built a home for street boys and is planning to construct a similar home for street girls on the property. Each home supports 25 children, taking them off the streets for one year, and provides food, clothing, shelter, schooling and post-school training.

A mobile clinic operates in the surrounding countryside, visiting remote villages to provide testing for HIV/AIDS. The medication to treat the disease is free, and the clinic’s nutrition program is crucial in supporting successful treatment.

The Gitega Clinic Project is evolving into a Health and Education Centre under the capable administration of Dr. Aline Muryango. Because of the generous support given by the people in the Bella Coola Valley and across Canada, CC 4 Africa (BC2Africa) can be very proud of what has been accomplished.

For further information regarding sponsorship of orphans at Emmanuel Centre, contact Pegge Stewart (982-2245), Joan Cole (982-2540) or Michele Bazille (799-0096).