Longing for the schools of their past

Overcrowding and a shortage of classrooms in Tanzania keep many displaced Burundian children from getting a good education.

In the north-western region of Kigoma, we met some of these students and their volunteer teacher. Here in Nduta camp, for every classroom there is a need for eight more.

Kevine’s story

Eight-year-old Kevine and her classmates sit on stones under the trees, eagerly copying down notes from sheets of paper tied to tree trunks. Cars roar by, kicking up dust from the road and making it difficult for them to concentrate. Noises from nearby classes pull their focus away from the teacher.

Kevine is one of 145,000 displaced schoolchildren in Kigoma. She misses her school in Burundi, a properly furnished building.

“But here,” she says, “we study under trees and we sit on stones. I feel sad because I do not have exercise books, pens, clothes, shoes or a school bag.”

Kevine and her family fled from Burundi in February after she lost her grandfather to the violence that has raged the country since 2015. When President Pierre Nkurunziza declared that he would sit a third term despite constitutional laws, protests and government forces wreaked havoc across the country.

Kevine’s mother worries that Kevine is still traumatised from the journey to Tanzania. She tells us that she hopes Kevine will attend school during their time in Tanzania before they return to Burundi.