Gitega - "Education is a priority for the children of our orphanage, because their future depends on education": says to Agenzia Fides Sister Capitoline Bedetse, a Burundian nun who is Superior of the Good Shepherd Institute in Gitega, in the heart of Burundi. Here the religious runs an institute born in 2001 to welcome single mothers and since 2004 also hosts abandoned children. "They were abandoned by their mothers because of poverty or dishonor, because their fathers did not want to recognize them. We always try to keep open contact with parents, especially with mothers, because we hope that one day they can reunite and return to live together. Sometimes mothers come forward even after years, and we try to help them to rebuild the relationship with their abandoned child". There are 22 other nuns and 38 among novices and postulants who work in the institute of the Good Shepherd. The nuns take care of the nursery school and the primary school next to the institute. To support all social activities, they started small economic activities: "We have cows that provide us with milk for our children, we have bought land in order to meet our needs, expenses, even to pay for school fees. Most of our children are boys, and at the end of their primary school, we send them to a boarding school not far from here, run by religious".
Infancy in Burundi, which represents about half of a population of 10 million, lives in extremely difficult conditions: according to data reported by the Global Hunger Index, three out of five children suffer from problems concerning their growth. Furthermore, access to basic services such as health and education is out of reach for many needy people.
The second most important city in the country after the capital Bujumbura, is Gitega, a poor city, like the rest of Burundi: "Here you live with two dollars a day", explains Sister Capitoline. "Given the poverty of families, these children do not find parents who adopt them. But we are committed to growing healthy, educated and confident children", she concludes. >>