• Violence in Burundi
    Emergency response for thousands of refugee children
  • Forced to flee
    Elise’s arduous journey to safety
  • Adrien's journey
    Thousands of children have been forced to flee Burundi - including Adrien
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A fresh outbreak of violence inside Burundi has seen some half a million people - the majority of them children - flee to neighbouring states in search of safety


Burundi has been beset by instability for many years and remains one of the poorest countries in Africa, with 80 per cent of the population living in poverty. This instability is the legacy of the civil war which erupted in 1993 between the Hutu and Tutsi ethnic groups. The conflict lasted until 2006 and claimed some 300,000 lives.

A comprehensive ceasefire agreement was signed in 2008 but the slow progress towards peace has recently been disrupted. President Nkurunziza’s decision to stand for re-election in April 2015 in search of an unprecedented third term of office was met with widespread violence. An attempted military coup was followed by a wave of violent unrest that claimed over four hundred lives. The violence has continued, with reports of targeted killings against civilians and government forces.

More than 500,000 refugees have fled Burundi for neighbouring states since the violence began - half of whom are children. Many of these children have been forced to seek refuge without the protection of guardians or caregivers. Those children still inside Burundi are at risk of abuse, neglect and exploitation. Access to education is severely limited - barely half of the country’s schoolchildren complete primary education.

What we do

War Child has worked in partnership with national NGOs inside Burundi since 2008 and established its own operations there in 2011. War Child works on rebuilding social structures inside Burundi and connecting them with at-risk children by strengthening the capacity of community-based structures concerning child protection. 

Our projects are designed to deliver protection, psychosocial support and education to children inside Burundi. Our work to create safe and supportive environments provides the space where children can process their traumatic experiences, rebuild their confidence and contribute towards a better future - both for themselves and their communities.


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