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Burundi Microlending Project

The Sound Essence Projects initiative is to set up microlending with Hutu and Tutsi women in 4 villages in Burundi, as well as Congolese and Rwandan women outside of Bujambura, to Rebuild Hope, Dreams, and Family. The first projects in May 2007 are beaded bracelets and agriculture projects.

In 1993, one half million people were killed in an ethnic war between the Hutu and Tutsi's. 60% of the homes, schools and hospitals were destroyed. There was no effective international community intervention. This lead to over 300,000 people in refugee camps. Serious displacement of people, mass famine, AIDS, and the chronic poverty has left Burundi the third poorest country in the world.

Burundi is in the Great Lakes region of Central Africa, next to Rwanda. There is a population of 8 million people and the country is similiar in size to Maryland in the United States.

Microlending is the extension of very small loans to the unemployed, to poor women living in poverty who are not considered "bankable". These individuals lack collateral, steady employment and verified credit history, which doesn't qualify them for credit from a bank. Microcredit has enabled extrememly impoverished people (mostly women) to engage in self-employment projects, that allow them to generate an income. We are very happy to be helping 128 women in Burundi to rebuild their dreams, hope, and life.

The group of women that are Congolese and Rwandan escaped the war and genocide in both countries. This is a quote from Arschette, a Congolese woman living in Rwanda and meeting us (three women from Bellingham) in Burundi to help the 28 women. "Inside the group of women we have widows and single women. Most of the children are orphans. They do not have work. They are struggling to find even food. They don't have houses and are living, some with relatives and friends. Even renting houses with no money to pay the rent. Some may have gone into prostitution to pay the bills. Our work and goal is to rent two hectares of land and help these women move from prostitution to farming." The agricultural project will include growing corn, beans and casava for the local people and local market

If you are touched to help, $50 will help one woman completely change her life and family's life. Your tax deductible donations can be mailed to The Sound Essence Project P.O. Box 4028 Bellingham, WA. 98227 U.S.A.

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