I am not sure if you have heard, but early on Sunday morning, January 27th, Bujumbura’s Central Market caught fireContinue reading...
Cassien established the Help Channel Burundi project to address the massive deforestation of Burundi, which led to the loss of sustainable livelihoods. During the civil war that ravaged the country, Burundi's forests were completely destroyed due to neglect and targeted clearing.
As a response, Cassien has mobilised local communities to plant over 5-million trees as a way to revert the deforestation and promote community healing and reconciliation.
Cassien is a business graduate but his story started during the crucible civil war years that ravaged Burundi. While at university he had a disturbing dream one night of a mother and a child who asked him to beg for food on their behalf.
Upon graduation he volunteered with a Christian clinic that was treating civilians caught up in the fighting. One morning, the mother and child which he dreamed about walked in – he immediately knew that God was calling him to do just that – to beg on their behalf.
In 2005 the normally fertile northern provinces of Burundi experienced significant drought. Cassien used this situation to mobilse local churches in the city to provide food aid – he was doing what the dream had said – he was begging on their behalf.
However, Cassien knew that endless food aid was unsustainable, and being a business graduate, he started to ask the bigger “why” question. Why had a fertile region experienced drought and food shortage – what had gone wrong and how could it be addressed?
In his research Cassien identified that massive deforestation was the primary cause for the disruption to the micro-climate of the region. The forests had been destroyed as a result of neglect and targeted clearing during the years of civil war.
After his research, Cassien concluded that three things needed to be done:
• People needed food aid simply to survive
• Millions of trees needed to be planted to reforest the entire region
• People needed to be educated in sustainable forest management
Cassien established the Help Channel Burundi to do just that. In the past few years he has mobilised local communities to plant over 5-million trees in a food-for-work programme that includes a significant element of education (both in theory and practical participation).