Bookmarks from Burundi

Fikiri Nzoyisenga's picture
Posted by Fikiri Nzoyisenga on
Wed, 06/10/2015

We love hearing from our Students Rebuild Literacy Challenge teams! Today we’re pleased to share a guest blog from a very special young man who has participated in three Students Rebuild Challenges! We first met him through his blog post for the One Million Bones Challenge. Despite conflict and hardship, he is working to help his peers around the world and to inspire education and service in Burundi’s youth. Photos courtesy of Fikiri Nzoyisenga.

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“My name is Fikiri; I am from Burundi, East Africa. I registered to participate in the Literacy Challenge. I worked with many rural women members and beneficiaries of my organization, Youth Coalition Against Gender-based Violence - SEMERERA.

Unfortunately, the security situation worsened very recently in Burundi and most of these women were obliged to flee away. This made it difficult for us to collect all the bookmarks we made together.

Myself I also worked with children in my community to make the bookmarks. In total, we managed to make 3,421 bookmarks. These children are from Bujumbura. Because of a political unrest here in Burundi, they are not able to go to school nowadays. This situation began in April when civil society organizations and opposition political parties invited the population to demonstrate in protest against our president's decision to run for an unconstitutional third term.

Unable to go to school because of the bad security situation, most of them [the children] are likely to turn to crime and antisocial behaviors. To avoid this, I decided to associate them in the Challenge, just to give them not only the opportunity to help other children but also to occupy them positively.

They are always coming to my home to ask if we can continue with what we've been doing for more than a month. Since I still have some markers and papers, I always give them [to the children] just to allow them to remind themselves how to write, count, etc.

This is my third time to take part in the fundraising activities Students Rebuild organizes. As a leader in an organization, I know how important it is for a NPO to raise funds for its activities. 

You will also understand that I did all this within the context of the everyday activities of my organization ‘YOUTH COALITION AGAINST GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE – SEMERERA’ which is a youth-led organization that is advocating for the rights of vulnerable groups, especially women and children.”


Fikiri Nzoyisenga

2014 Mandela Washington Fellow

A World At School Global Youth Ambassador

Executive Director, Youth Coalition Against Gender-based Violence - SEMERERA

The Students Rebuild Literacy Challenge, in partnership with Save the Children and Global Nomads Group, helped thousands of children in disadvantaged communities become successful life-long readers and learners. The Bezos Family Foundation, through Students Rebuild, has matched each bookmark you made and mailed in with $1—up to $300,000—for Save the Children’s Literacy Boost program in Mali, Nepal and Peru.