Nolan* was found, just 12 years old on the streets of Bujumbura, another street-connected child amongst twenty other boys sitting and lying on the grass by the roadside in the heat of the day. In the city, it is not difficult to find children like this, often boys, hanging out, begging or trying to sell items to drivers at traffic lights. They often form close bonds, living and working together. Some of these friends had heard about New Generation Burundi’s work. Some street-connected children want to receive help. Others decide they prefer their life on the streets, outreach sessions like the one found in this image are designed to make first contact and build a relationship with the children, to establish whether they have a desire to participate in the rehabilitation program. As resources are limited, they have to be wise about which children they can accept.
When the team from New Generation spoke to Nolan, they learnt that he had run away from the rural province he lived in after his parents separated. Furthermore, his beloved Bibi (Nana) had recently died, who he was close to. He owned virtually nothing and was even wearing a babygrow he had found in lieu of a shirt.
Fast-forward a few days. New Generation founder Diéudonne Nahimana introduces Nolan to the other children at the NG home. Both Nolan and Diéudonne are originally from the same province of Burundi. Nolan does not look up or make eye contact with anyone, but at least he is off the streets and part of the New Generation rehabilitation program. He will live in a home alongside another 7 boys, with a full-time house parent to care for them. He’ll also have the opportunity to go to school in addition to the rehabilitation activities. The Outreach Program specifically focuses on supporting street-connected children by inculcating good values in them, making them aware of their rights, providing medical care in case of emergencies and getting them to play together and develop their talents.
In this second photograph, we find the beginning of Nolan’s next chapter. He is now being reconciled with his parents and has moved home to live with his Sogo (Grandad). It is wonderful to see him smiling and making eye contact! He is grateful for the work of the staff, wishes to return to his school, and in the future, he hopes to help orphans, just like he was helped. New Generation will continue to visit the family to support the reconciliation process, which will take time, but they have established that the best option is to be home and part of family life.
New Generation works tirelessly to give as many as possible the chance to recover their childhood and find hope. Their ministry is making a huge difference to the new generation of Burundians.