Against all odds
Conflict in Burundi has made life impossible for hundreds of thousands of civilians like Augustin, 66, who have been forced to migrate, mostly across the border to Tanzania. It’s an unimaginable journey for most people, yet despite his mobility issues, Augustin has made this journey 13 times out of necessity – even sleeping in the forest on the way to stay hidden.
Augustin’s life was turned upside down after he was suspected of being a member of the opposition party.
"I saw others being killed, burned alive, I knew I had to escape" he said.
Every time he walked, his foot would become painful and swell, yet he was forced into making a series of extraordinary journeys. By the time Augustin arrived in Tanzania, he couldn’t get his shoe on.
Now in one of three overstretched camps, Augustin is receiving medical care from Age International.
“Now I can put on my shoe and walk”, he told us.
With his foot recovered, Augustin has been able to join the small community dance group we set up in his camp. It is one of a number of clubs – from all-female volleyball to hand-football – that older people can join as part of our mental health and wellbeing programme.
Even after all he has been through, Augustin still loves to dance.
"I like to join others in dancing to help relieve my stress. I enjoy it so much it makes me not worry about my disability. It's great coming together as a community.”
“My future is bright because I have your support”, he told us.
While Augustin is slowly recovering from the impact of conflict and health problems on his life, thousands more like him remain in desperate need of support from their community, albeit away from home.
Augustin feels positive about the future now he is getting treatment and support away from the instability in Burundi. He won’t go home unless peace can be sustained.
With your support, many more older people like Augustin can rebuild their lives after experiencing unimaginable hardship. With a community around them, they can connect and thrive. Against all odds.
You can help to rebuild lives.