One of the smallest, yet most densely populated countries in Africa, Burundi shares a border with Rwanda, Tanzania, and Congo. In 2016, the country was ranked 184 out of 188 in the Human Development Index and is considered one of the poorest countries in the world. Like neighboring Rwanda—which experienced the unspeakable horrors of genocide when the Hutus attempted to decimate the Tutsi population in 1994—Burundi has faced ethnic violence and massacres between the two groups since gaining independence in 1962. Although peacekeeping attempts have been made and some of the violence has subsided, the situation in the country is unstable. In 2015, new conflicts broke out due to the president’s decision to run for a third term, causing hundreds of deaths and and many people to flee the country.
In February 2019, Play for Peace trainers Sam and Sarah Towers visited Burundi, hosting peace sessions with students, teachers, and staff in six different schools and working with partner THARS (Trauma Healing and Reconciliation Services). Since Play for Peace uses cooperative play to release tension and help people cope with trauma, THARS was very interested in learning about its methodology and integrating Play for Peace into its sessions.
The group in Burundi officially registered as a Play for Peace club in May 2019, with THARS as its partner organization. They are eager to work with the global learning community and connect with Play for Peace clubs around the world, sharing the same values of cooperation, inclusion, caring, and fun.
"Play for Peace will help the community to rebuild confidence. We are very happy to have a new approach to heal the hearts of Burundians."
Play for Peace Mentor
"For me, the games we play have allowed me to connect deeply with myself, and tap into my relationships with my colleagues, my family, and everyone around me."
"Pour moi, les jeux auxquels nous jouons m'ont permis de me connecter profondément avec moi-même et de puiser dans mes relations avec mes collègues, ma famille et tout le monde autour de moi."
Now that we’re one week into Level Up: Race for Humanity, we want to introduce some of the amazing mentors from our Play for Peace clubs who are taking part in this month-long event. We’ll be following their journeys over the next few weeks, to share how they are leveling up in their communities.
With Coronavirus lockdowns expanding globally, billions of people in Africa are faced with unprecedented restrictions and turmoil. Despite all of this, our clubs there are working hard to support their communities, providing access to food, basic necessities, and emotional support.