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Opening of the Mahama Elite Center

Opening of the Mahama Elite Center


For many years, Friends of Humanity has been supporting the international NGO Maison Shalom, whom supports refugees to develop practical skills through vocational trainings with the purpose of empowering them to become self-reliant.

Since the end of April 2015, Burundi has been shaken by a major political and security crisis, terrorizing the civilian population every day. This situation has caused a large movement of refugees to neighbouring countries, particularly Rwanda, Tanzania and the DRC. As of July 2017, there are 68.000 Burundian refugees in Rwanda (60.000 at mahama refugee camp), 392.000 refugees in total in the whole region and, among them, a very large number of them are young people.

Some young people are already involved in delinquency in several forms: excessive consumption of alcohol, drug abuse or prostitution among others. Left to themselves with all these problems, these young people could try to join armed groups. This would further deteriorate the security situation in Burundi which is already tense, with consequences on the whole region.


The Mahama "Elite Center" aims to foster socio-cultural development of Burundian refugees.


View of Mahama refugee camp in Rwanda (with more than 60.000 burundian refugees)


To improve these difficult conditions, in June 2018, Maison Shalom and Friends of Humanity opened, at the Mahama refugee camp in Rwanda (with more than 60.000 Burundian refugees), a center called “Mahama Elite Centre” to foster socio-cultural development of Burundian refugees, with courses including English learning, culinary arts, tailoring, embroidery and painting among others.


Graziella Zanoletti and Brigitte Burgisser laying down the foundation stone of the Elite Center on January 2018


The foundation stone of the workshop was laid on January 3rd 2018, but only 98 days after the actual beginning of the construction works, during which numerous men and women refugees of all ages worked together as a team (getting an income for their work that helped them to improve their living conditions), on June 22nd 2018 the Centre was opened and operational.


Graziella Zanoletti, Brigitte Burgisser and the Maison Shalom founder and President Marguerite Barankitse together with Minister De Bonheur of MIDIMAR Rwanda and P. Kenya from UNHCR inaugurating the Elite Center of Maison Shalom at Mahama Refugee Camp in June 2018

Watch the video of the laying down of the first stone of the Elite Center at Mahama camp by clicking the following link


Inauguration of the Elite Center at Mahama refugee camp last June 2018



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