Following a two-month visit to Burundi, this newsletter primarily reports on the first two projects funded by the Students Grants Program of the Haley McCready Outreach and Development Fund.
This trip began with a long-awaited tour of Burundi. Ken Johnson helped John McCready, fund founder, and his friend Jim Lacasse purchase two motorcycles in order to tour around Burundi and learn more about the country. John and Jim paid for the tour and the motorcycles from their own money. Although some of the roads can be extremely challenging, the tour was terrific; the country is beautiful and its people are friendly and interesting.
Tailoring for Women at Kinama (formerly Nyanza-lac), Project Manager, Christine Kamirameya
The sewing project began in Nyanza-lac but the project manager lives in the capital city, Bujumbura; a two-hour bus ride away. The “long-distance” project management was not working and the project needed to be moved and restored. It took some time but the project manager did a great job of restoring the project in Bujumbura. A workshop needed to be built, trainers secured and trainees enrolled. A workshop was built, two additional sewing machines were purchased and the project was restored with three poor women enrolled as trainees for life skills and sewing skills.
When John visited the project in September, the three women had started their training but they could not sew. When he visited the project in January the women were sewing. Although they will receive a bit more training, John was asked to participate in a graduation ceremony. The ceremony was very nice.
The workshop makes tops, bags and uniforms. With help from Wayne and Barb Vibbert, some of the visiting professors made visits to the workshop and bought some of the products. Barb thinks the quality of the sewing is very good. Christine presented John with a gift.
The project is planning to develop its marketing of school uniforms; primary and secondary. Christine, project manager, is hoping to find enough money to buy material and, then, try to develop a sustaining line of revenue.
Rev. Déogratias Nshimiyimana, a member of the African Governing Committee, made a visit to the project. Rev. Déo used to do his own sewing. The visit gave him the opportunity to renew his sewing skills.
Pig Farming at Muyebe, Project Managers, Eddyne Irankunda and Evelyne Kanyana
Our last report indicated that the pig farming operation would be wound down and the project transformed. The project managers, who live in Bujumbura, decided that it was not financially feasible to continue with farming pigs at Muyebe; a two-hour bus ride away. However, the pig farming project lasted for nearly two years and it was successful. The pig farming project provided valuable experience for the project managers and it produced jobs, manure and piglets. The project sold piglets and gave away 8 piglets.
The project managers considered transforming the project into one that would sell eggs. Unfortunately, the security wall, surrounding the land that had been offered for the project, fell down because of heavy rain and it would cost too much money to restore the wall. So, the project managers are going to use the remaining money to continue the project through other means.
Evelyn’s family has a few cows that they maintain. The family has agreed to have another project cow join their cows. Accordingly, there will be no costs for the care of the project cow. In the new future, a young cow will be purchased and placed with the other cows owned and maintained by Evelyn’s family. In this way, the project will continue in a new form and will continue to provide benefits.