From alcoholic to responsible father
Ernest, farmer and father of 8, is from Southern Burundi in Bururi province. With his family, he lives in Rutovu commune on the Ruringanizo Colline. The weather is chilly most of the time. Ernest used to spend the entire day drinking. He neglected his family responsibilities such as caring about his wife and children. He would end up spending all the money in bars and come home with empty pockets. Not only did the children eat once a day but 5 of them had challenges at school since their father couldn’t manage to pay for the school fees. The only so called friends Ernest had were those with whom he went drinking with.
But all that started to change when Ernest joined the self help group introduced by Help Channel Burundi as he explains:« After I joined the self help group called SHIGIKIRUBWOROZI which means ‘support animal husbandry’, we received a lot of trainings mostly on good farming practices, associative life, savings and credit, conflict prevention and resolution using non-violent methods as well as the best ways to create income-generating activities.»
Ernest understood the importance of association and he started to put in practice what he had learned. Since Ernest had 3 sheep, he sold them and adding the money he borrowed, he bought a cow. He now uses the manure to fertilize the farming land which has increased the yield. Ernest even built a small house which the family uses as a storage room.
Ernest is now not only able to provide enough food but also nutritious food thanks to the teachings on kitchen gardens: «I cultivated vegetables and my children eat them on a daily basis».
By working with others, Ernest’s behavior changed and his children have noticed it. His son Richard, 14, he is very happy about the fact that his father joined the self help group. They have since overcome many of the problems: « We didn’t have enough food and it was difficult to find school fees or get medical care but these are no longer a challenge at home».
«Our father’s adhesion to the association has positively and strongly impacted our lives. We hope many other people will benefit from it. We are grateful to Help Channel Burundi».