MEO center: psychosocial support in Bujumbura
2013 - 2016
Burundi is a small, landlocked and densely populated country in the African Great Lakes region that has faced years of civil war and ethnic violence. Cibitoke was severely affected during Burundi’s civil war and today remains one of the capital’s poorest neighbourhoods.
The most vulnerable children, their mothers and families needed a safe place where they could address their psycho-social, health care, nutritional and educational needs. That need was partially met in 2001 when AVSI set up the MEO Lino Lava Community Center for Children, Mothers and War Orphans.
Today, the center has become a point of reference for the entire Cibitoke community. It boasts a psychologist and several social workers who support children and their parents with regular home visits and therapy sessions. The center also provides emergency medical care and helps pay for transport and supplies for children and families who need immediate attention. Recreational and educational activities include a library, play therapy and music and dance lessons. While health care and educational support are aimed mainly at children, the center has become a hub for the entire community, helping strengthen the capacity of families to respond to their children’s needs.
Mothers are trained in child-caring and take part in activities that reinforce their dignity: they volunteer at the center by preparing food for the children, but also take courses in literacy and credit and savings, empowering them to start small income-generating activities.
positive parenting sessions
alphabetization and money-saving groups
individual psychological counselling
children followed up by the psychologist
parents followed up by the psychologist
parents attended positive parenting sessions