HELLO-B: A satisfactory record of achievement despite challenges

The association “Help the Least of All in Burundi, HELLO-B” has already achieved quite a lot and helped a large part of the population.  However, challenges are not missing. The thorniest of them is the lack of enough funds to help HELLO-B increase the impact it has so far. In this article, we look back at HELLO-B’s major achievements in its four main areas of intervention, to help you discover why you should invest in HELLO-B.

Help the Least of All in Burundi, HELLO-B, is a non-profit association incorporated under Burundian law, working in four main areas: health, education, socio-economics and humanitarian aid.

Since 2020, several achievements have been recorded in these four main areas. The beneficiaries and the administrative authorities are all delighted with the contribution made by the HELLO-B association to their respective communities.

HELLO-B’s major achievements since 2020

In the health sector, HELLO-B has distributed health insurance cards to vulnerable families to facilitate their access to healthcare. In the same field, HELLO-B paid the bills of certain people from poor families who had been detained in the various health care centers due to lack of funds to pay their medical bills. This year, 2024, 8 people have already benefited from this support. The Dunamai Medical Center clinic, which was initiated by HELLO-B, has continued its work of providing quality healthcare to the Burundian population and others from countries bordering Burundi. Government programs providing free care for children under five and pregnant women have remained operational at this clinic, which has even evolved into a polyclinic. Today, this polyclinic is well recognized nationally and regionally for the quality of its services.

In the socio-economic field, 25 VSLAs (Villages Savings and Loans Associations) for young people and women, each with 50 members, have been set up. These include 19 women’s VSLAs and 6 youth’s VSLAs. All these groups have received financial support from HELLO-B. This support has enabled them to launch income-generating activities (IGA) in the agricultural, livestock and commercial sectors. Some members raise rabbits, goats, pigs and chickens. Others farm amaranth, beans, corn, onions and other plants.

There are also those who practice other IGAs, such as small-scale trading in essential goods and fish farming.

13 houses were also built for widows and other needy families. These houses were built in the 5 communes of the Bujumbura and Mwaro provinces.

In the field of education, more than 21 pupils from poor families were supported in their school and academic careers, from elementary school to university.  Over 250 other pupils received school kits. These included copy books, pens, uniforms and many other items needed by a pupil.

In the humanitarian field, the victims of the floods that hit the city of Bujumbura were assisted with food and non-food items. The rural population was not forgotten either. Some widows and other people in critical financial situations received food assistance on several occasions.

Testimonials from some of our beneficiaries

“I met HELLO-B when I finished high school. I wanted to go to university, but my family couldn’t afford it. HELLO-B stepped in. He paid my tuition fees and everything else I needed for my four-year degree. Then; after my graduation, I got a job at Econet Wireless Burundi. I also worked on various projects supported by the World Bank. At the moment, I’m the Director General of Administration and Finance. All this is thanks to HELLO-B. So I’m grateful for everything this organization and its leaders have done for me”, says Aloys NIBIGIRA, HELLO-B project beneficiary and the current Director General of Administration and Finance at the Ministry of Finance, Budget and Economic Planning.

“Before I met HELLO-B, I lived in very precarious conditions. When it rained, it was a total desolation. We’d have to get up because our house was in such a bad state. Afterwards, I turned to the local authorities to ask for support. They looked for benefactors who built us this house. These benefactors are HELLO-B and its initiators. Now I live in a comfortable house with my 4 children, whom my husband left with me. When the rain comes, I don’t worry about a thing. God bless HELLO-B, its leaders and our communal authorities who connected me to HELLO-B. I don’t know how I can thank them on my behalf,” urgues Nicimpaye Bernadette, a widow living in Bujumbura province for whom HELLO-B built a house.

“When I compare where I was before HELLO-B and where I am now, there is really a clear difference. When HELLO-B came, they taught us how to start income-generating activities. It then gave us start-up capital. Personally, I first bought three rabbits. They multiplied to 25 rabbits. I then started giving them to my friends and neighbors so that they too could raise rabbits. The rabbits continued to multiply. At home, we’re never short of meat. When we have a financial problem, we sell a rabbit or two and the problem is solved. At HELLO-B, I also got the capital to do a small business. Now I’ve reached a level of buying more than 4 large cans of oil to retail in our district. I ask HELLO-B to continue supporting us, because we’re delighted with the step we’ve already taken. I’m convinced that tomorrow will be more better with HELLO-B”, utters a woman member of the VSLA created and supported by HELLO-B in Mutambu commune, Bujumbura province.

“We got the opportunity to visit where HELLO-B is helping in Mutambu, Isare and Mubimbi communes of Bujumbura province. We got the opportunity to see how this organization supports the population in the fields of education, health and socio-economic development. We saw that the pupils supported by HELLO-B are far more successful than others. We have also received reports of HELLO-B’s work in the healthcare sector, where it pays the bills for the healthcare of the poor. We are delighted with HELLO-B’s contribution, and especially with the good lessons this organization teaches our citizens. It teaches them, in the field of development, how they can develop themselves by starting with small things”, said proudly the Governor’s Advisor in charge of development in Bujumbura province.

Despite all these achievements, Espérance Mpawenimana, legal representative of the HELLO-B association, points out that the organization faces the challenge of insufficient funds. She points out that all these achievements have been reached thanks to the organization’s own funds and without financial support from elsewhere. Nevertheless, she says that the legal representation of this organization she is founder and president is working hard to search for partners who can support them to have a greater impact and reach more people.

She points out that since the beginning of this search, the HELLO-B association has already had a partner to implement a nutrition project entitled “Kura Kibondo Project”. This financial partner is WWGVC, an Italian NGO. She calls on all partners who can or want to collaborate with HELLO-B to reach out to them.

Thibilisse Nkurunziza

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