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Pushed to the brink of survival

Poverty pushed Aline to the brink of survival. She was abused, homeless and hungry. But Aline pushed back harder.  

Driven by hope, faith and the love of her children, Aline was able to fight against the inhumanity of poverty and build herself a new life

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Push back against the inhumanity of poverty this Christian Aid Week.

Life in Burundi

In Burundi, malnourishment and poverty affect more than 70% of the population, making survival a daily struggle. Jobs and food are hard to come by, and those who have homes often have no electricity or running water.  

For Aline, life was a constant struggle. She was married young and gave birth to her eldest son, Fisto, when she was just 14 years old. Aline experienced constant abuse at the hands of her violent husband.  

A few years later, Aline faced even more devastation. Her husband married another woman, forcing  Aline to flee. He prevented her from taking their children with her, and in a further act of cruelty, told the local community that Aline was mentally ill and unable to care for her children. 

Image credits and information i
Aline Nibogora helping her son Vyukesenge Aubi with homework at their home in Makamba Province, Burundi. Credit: Ndacayisaba Epitace
Aline and her son sit on a couch inside their home. In front of them is a small table with a floral cloth covering it. Her son's homework is on the table

I wandered the streets, asking anyone for a place to sleep. Those who showed me kindness would let me stay for two or three days, but it was difficult. People would insult me and treat me with contempt. They forgot I was a human being. It filled me with sorrow.

- Aline .

How Christian Aid supported

Hungry, scorned and alone, Aline took her first step towards her new life. She started by participating in a transformative three-day community workshop, funded by Christian Aid.  

‘I came out with amazing knowledge and skills. The trainer restored a sense of hope and energy in me,’ says Aline.

She was taught how to form a Village Savings and Loans Association (VSLA) and establish a steady income, though our partner Network of Religious Confessions for the Promotion of Health and Integral Wellbeing of the Family (RCBIF). VSLAs mean people can save for their future and borrow money to kickstart small rural businesses. With all she had learned, Aline’s dream of getting her children back finally felt possible. 

Help people push back.

Make a donation to Christian Aid week to help people living in extreme poverty.

Image credits and information i
Aline Nibogora outside the home she shares with her three sons in Makamba Province, Burundi Credit: dacayisaba Epitace
Aline Nibogora outside the home she shares with her three sons in Makamba Province, Burundi

Building a business

With a small start-up loan, Aline started trading avocados and peanuts locally. With her profits, she bought a bicycle so she could transport greater quantities of goods to markets further afield. Eventually, her hard work had finally paid off, and she had earned the money she needed to rent a house.  

Once Aline secured a home for herself, her three eldest sons were able to escape their father and join her. They told Aline that their father had abused them and sent their three young siblings to live with different members of his family.

Aline still hopes that she’ll be reunited with her youngest children in time. 

Today, Aline lives peacefully on her own plot of land in her village. She’s baked her own bricks and is building a strong home for her and her children in every sense. 

Now Aline can afford food, clothes and essential healthcare for her family. She’s also purchased solar panels so her children can do their evening homework by electric light. 

I like to feed my family with the produce that I grow, such as beans, vegetables and corn. I am so happy that we are together. Now my children feel supported as they have a parent who can meet their needs.

- Aline.
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Push back against the inhumanity of poverty this Christian Aid Week.

Recovery and resilience

Of course, Burundi continues to be one of the toughest places on earth to live.  The future is uncertain and challenges wait for families like Aline’s around every corner.  

When a ferocious storm destroyed Aline’s home, almost killing her and her children, she was able to recover by selling the cows she’d been keeping. Now when crisis threatens her family’s survival, Aline has options.  

Even a small business can provide just enough resilience to weather the most brutal of storms here in Burundi. 

Image credits and information i
Aline Nibogora in Makamba Province, Burundi with the bicycle that’s meant she can transport more goods to market, and in turn build a bright future for her and her children. Credit: Ndacayisaba Epitace
Aline smiles at the camera standing holding onto her bicycle

Aline can not only look ahead to her children’s future now, but her own too. Naturally, Aline wants security as she ages.  

In the next five years she hopes to expand her current wholesale business by selling a range of goods, so that one day she can buy a mill. This will provide a source of income without the need to transport heavy goods over long distances.  

Aline told us: ‘This is not a dream. It is a plan, and I will do it. I am a woman who is an achiever.’ 

The difference with Christian Aid

Aline’s long and difficult journey out of extreme poverty began with a little support, knowledge and faith from Christian Aid supporters like you. 

When we see Christian Aid, we feel comforted; we feel we are not alone. You helped us to change our poor living conditions. I really thank you from the very bottom of my heart.

- Aline.

No one should have to live on the brink of survival. During Christian Aid Week 2023, you raised £5 million to help transform lives just like Aline's.

This year, you can help us support even more people living in poverty. With 7 days and so many ways to raise funds for our Christian Aid Week appeal, what will you pick? Bake, run, swim, walk - we can't wait to see what a difference our supporters can make! 

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