Home Based recreational Initiative: Erneste's Story

Monday 16 November 2020

Erneste, 17, and his mother, Constance, fled Burundi in 2015 during the unrest in the country at the time. Officially Erneste and his mother arrived together in Rwanda on May 3rd, 2015.

Erneste’s mother explained the difficulty of raising children in Mahama Refugee Camp, “Were it not Save the Children support, I do not think I could have raised Erneste and his sister properly.” Constance applauded Save the Children’s efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic, “Save the Children sensitized us to stay at home and always wash our hands.  Since February, I have not tried to go outside the camp.”

Constance carefully abides by COVID-19 measures, as does her son who took steps to mobilize the Burundian community in Mahama Refugee Camp on COVID-19 prevention. Erneste is motivated by his desire to return to school. “My artwork shows how we should prevent ourselves from contracting COVID-19, so that we can go back to school soon and so that others who don’t go to school can resume their daily work,” Erneste said.

Erneste, who is in the second year of his secondary studies, is afraid that he is losing out on school. “We are really miserable. Since we are not going to school, it means we are missing this academic year. Staying at home was not good for us until Save the Children brought this program of using our talents at home,” he shared. Save the Children’s Home-Based Recreation initiative addresses the recreational needs of children in Mahama Refugee Camp who are not using CFS nor going to school in addition to reinforcing guidance to stay at home in a bid to mitigate child protection risks.

Children enrolled in the Home-Based Recreation initiative draw and make handcrafts. When the children finish their activities, they submit their artwork; exemplary contributions are recognized by displaying them on the CFS bulletin boards. “Save the Children has provided me with pencils, crayons and papers to draw my artwork,” Erneste attested. Constance when on to say “Save the Children helped us to raise our children positively.”

Background / Project information

Save the Children launched the Home-Based Recreation initiative to meet the child protection and recreational needs of children in Mahama Refugee Camp during the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, 50 girls and 50 boys have been reached.

Save the Children delivers essential, life-saving interventions to ensure that the 31,688 children hosted in Mahama Refugee Camp survive, learn and are protected from harm.