Kirundi, Swahili, and French are the three main languages of Burundi, but now that Burundi is part of the East-African Community, it is important that Burundians learn English to fully participate in the political, economic, and social aspects of this organization. BFI English Clubs provide a free learning environment, and access to technology and books so that anyone may participate and learn to speak and write in English. These skills greatly expand job opportunities and provide a foundation for future economic, business and agricultural growth across Burundi. They help native Burundians to connect with the global community and develop self-sustaining opportunities.
The first BFI English Club began in 2011 with 35 students and 3 Burundi leaders. Today, we serve over 50,000 students covering all 18 provinces in Burundi.
Because Burundians trying to learn English struggle with the lack of printed resources, BFI’s goal was to send over 40,000 English language books to Burundi’s universities, schools, and English Clubs. Thanks to the support of our donors and our partnership with Books for Africa, we were able to surpass this! We are proud to announce that we have sent over 100,000 books to date, allowing the development of 79 secondary school libraries. More will need to be changed but this is helpful for now as it at least get us a bit more current.
As containers are commonly used in Burundi as shops, BFI decided to transform our containers into a libraries. We currently have 4 completed libraries, plus 2 more containers in the process of being converted.
Our hopes, are to one day transform all of our libraries into communities centers, where families can learn together and work toward ending poverty in their country.
In 2014, Aime Ndayirukiye was introduced to the sound of a violin through a TED talk shown to him by BFI Executive Director, Julie Marner, while in Burundi. Already musically gifted as a keyboard player and singer, Aime enthusiastically embraced the opportunity to learn all about the beautiful instrument. Julie’s friend, Susanna Han, director of the San Diego Suzuki Heritage Center, began volunteering for BFI and weekly used Skype for violin instruction.
In 2020, Aime is currently completing Suzuki level five. He has also instructed twelve young adults and children on violin. BFI also has a student learning cello and a flute is already in Burundi to add to our ensemble. BFI hopes to create Burundi’s first orchestra.