By SARAH MEGGINSON
As with most families, breakfast time is chaotic in our household. It takes at least an hour to get the kids dressed, fed and presentable, and washing the remnants of soggy weetbix and mashed banana down the drain is a common casualty of a busy morning.
But recently, this mundane task has taken on new meaning. It makes me feel sad. Because I’m not just cleaning up the breakfast dishes, I am literally pouring good food down the sink.
In Burundi, the kids would devour this, I thought when rinsing the bowls out this morning.
Burundi is a small African country I recently learned about; it’s wedged between Tanzania, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, where its residents struggle to survive.
- Home to almost 9 million people.
- Around 80% of its population lives in poverty.
- According to the World Food Programme, over 56% of children under the age of 5 suffer from chronic malnutrition.
- The Global Hunger Index ranks it as the hungriest country in the world!
I’d never even heard of Burundi until some random web-browsing lead me to an orphanage in Kirundo, Northern Burundi. I was searching for a needy cause and stumbled across Koriciza.
Every month, my friends and I hold a fun morning tea to catch up, give the kids a chance to play and to raise money for someone who really needs it. I started it in January this year, because I was disheartened: we constantly hear tragic stories, yet I often feel powerless to do anything about it.
But morning tea? Morning tea I can do! And so we started Feel Good Friday.
So far we’ve raised over $5,000, including funds for a terminally ill mum, Corrina; a sick baby, Alliyah, who needed a specially-adapted pram; people in need of support via Janelle’s Miracle Foundation; and most recently, we bought 16 swags for a homeless shelter via Rosies on the Gold Coast.
And in July we are fundraising for Koriciza, which means “do the good” in Kirundi. Which is why I’m reaching out to you…
Their situation is so desperate that, despite the hard work and dedication of those involved, the orphanage struggles to meet even the basic needs of the children. They rely purely on donations and the children can go days without eating. These kids are genuinely at risk of starvation.
I reached out to Leigh, who administers the orphanage’s website from the UK. She lived in Burundi briefly in 2003 where she became friends with Felix, a local teacher.
“Felix and I stayed in touch and in 2009, he told me about the dire situation at Koriciza, which is run by the pastor of the church he attends. He asked me to help in any way I could and I set up the website,” Leigh explains.
“It really is a very small operation, basically just me in the UK and Felix in Burundi. There are no admin costs at all, as both Felix and I do what we do as volunteers, and I pay for the web-hosting myself. I’ve been really amazed at how people from all over the world have stumbled upon the website. We probably manage to send in the region of £1000 a year, which is not a huge amount, but it makes a difference.”