Hope of an Orphan Girl

Delicia Igiraneza is a seven-year-old orphan girl, in the first grade in Mbuye ADP, centre west of Burundi. Since her parents died recently, she is being raised by her 17-year-old elder sister who is finding it difficult to fend for the whole family. Though Delicia still goes to school today, she might drop out due to lack of school materials and uniform. Or else she might need to fend for those materials herself in coming years, despite her young age. The uniform she is wearing now was bought by her mother before she died. However, Delicia’s family has a hope, she recently registered in World Vision (WV) Burundi’s Sponsorship programme and hopes that with WV’s support, she will be able to go to school; her only hope.

“Life became too hard when both our parents passed away. I had to take over and be responsible,.” says Claudine Mpawenimana, 17-year-old girl and head of the household.

Their father passed away after a few days of sickness and their mother died some time later while delivering a child, Claudine explains.

When the mother was going to deliver, Gasura, her nearby health facility was not able to help her. She died after she had finished delivering Samuel Niyonkuru, her last born, who was taken to an orphanage in a neighbouring province.

The maternal mortality rate in Burundi is 500 deaths per 100,000 live births and skilled birth attendance is at 60%. The mortality rate is one of the highest in the world. The prevalence of HIV is 2.97% in general population. Preventing Mother-to-Child Transmission Coverage (PMCTC) rate is (23%). (DHS, 2010)

After the death of their parents, Claudine took over the responsibilities of fending for the family. it was a hard task as she was still too young for such responsibilities; 

“I am doing my best to fend for the family but it is tough to cover all the needs,” Claudine says.

“Delicia will need to fend for her school materials and uniform; I will not be able to cover all the needs,” she continues thoughtfully.

Delicia could help people sowing crops like beans and would be paid 50 BIF or approximately USD0. 03 a day. Claudine is focussing all her efforts on finding food for her two siblings that she is living with, she explains.

As she speaks, a cute young girl comes along with dried lips and a bit of a gloomy face. She might be hungry or might have spent much time without speaking. It is noon, the time school children finish their mid-day sessions. Delicia arrives home. She arrives home when Claudine her sister has come from the field and still has dirt on her hands. Claudine asks Delicia if she knows what is in the copy book she has brought from school. Delicia does not know much yet; this is her first year at school.

Despite her young age, Delicia has to cope with the situation her family is living in. She has to prepare food after school and collect water too. People in the neighbourhood are on their side, and they chip in if they can; most of the support they give to the family is tilling the land.

”We are serving God; these children need to be supported,”a 72-year-old man says, lifting up a hoe. He had come with some other community members to support Claudine till the land. They support in whatever way they can, the old man adds.

Delicia recently registered in WV’s Sponsorship Programme. Her sister hopes that this might be a good opportunity for the whole family to be supported. Improving agriculture, getting a decent shelter and sending Delicia to school are among the things on the heart of that 17-year-old orphan girl.

According to Eric Havyarimana, a World Vision Development Mobiliser in the area, many families need to be supported because the recent civil war drastically disrupted almost all domains of life.  Support would be directed mainly to clean water, small livestock, schools and improved agricultural practices.