Tanzania: JRS trained refugee child wins international award
03 December 2009

A journalist at Radio Kwizera in Tanzania. Baruani Ndume has his own radio show here, broadcast to four different countries. (Peter Balleis SJ/JRS)
Ngara, 3 December 2009 – On 3 December, Baruani Baruani Ndume was awarded the International Children's Peace Prize for his work with children in a Tanzanian refugee camp. 

Now 16, Baruani has lived in the refugee camp for more than nine years since he fled violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo. His radio show, Sisi kwa Sisi (Children for Children), is broadcast on Radio Kwizera in Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda and Tanzania.

Staff at Radio Kwizera and World Vision Tanzania encouraged Baruani to begin the show, offering technical and moral support. Before a broadcast, some 20 children go out into the camp and discuss the concerns of fellow children regarding education, services, food and protection issues. 

Having lost his father before the war broke out in the DRC, shortly afterwards Baruani's mother died in an attack on their home by soldiers. Assisted in leaving the country, he was fostered by a refugee family in Tanzania. He was drawn to human rights work by the difficulties of life in the camps. Forced to live in crowded camps, he said, large families receive insufficient rations to get by and children, forced to take on heavy chores, find school too demanding.

In an interview with the PBS programme, NewsHour Extra, Baruani underlined the importance of programmes like Sisi kwa Sisi which bring children's issues to adults, such as the role of education.

Radio Kwizera, now a local community station

Radio Kwizera was established by JRS in 1995 in response to the effects of the genocide in Rwanda and civil wars in Burundi and the DRC. As the majority of Burundian refugees have decided to return home or apply for Tanzanian citizenship, Radio Kwizera has shifted its focus to becoming a community station, and its management was taken over by the Jesuit Province of Eastern Africa at the end of 2008.
 
Baruani has been the force behind several child rights programmes, including the right to education, promotion of girls' education and against sexual- and gender-based violence. Other roles held by Baruani include: speaker of the children's parliament, chairperson of Children Baraza and vice chairperson for Boys Association in Lugufu refugee camp.
 
The International Children's Peace Prize is presented annually to an exceptional child, whose courageous acts and thoughts have made a difference in countering problems affecting minors. The prize is an initiative of KidsRight Foundation, based in Amsterdam, and was launched during the 2005 Nobel Peace Laureates' Summit by Mikhail Gorbachev.





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