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An African Experience
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The Kamenge Youth Centre is a place of peace on the outskirts of Bujumbura, the capital of Burundi, which is one of the three poorest countries in the world. During the last fifty years the country has had three dictatorships, five massacres and thirteen years of war. The Centre has 39,650 registered members and also reaches out to the surrounding neighbourhoods, the North District, of approximately 400,000 people.

At the Centre, we work with young people for them to get on together through specific activities for them, which are free: drama, music, sports, culture, languages, and computers. We also work with four projects in the neighbourhoods: Literacy, Peace, Associations, AIDS-awareness. We want to help people to live together in peace in spite of differences in ethnicity, religion, nationality, political affiliation, the poor with the less poor. We do this through training, video forums, competitions, work camps and training sessions. We organise 800 activities each year which engage and get working together schools, government, neighbourhoods, religious communities and military camps.

The Centre is a social project of the Catholic Church in Bujumbura which was set up by the Xaverian Missionaries of Parma. Claudio, who is the current head of the Centre, has been there for twenty-two years. He works with 48 volunteer facilitators, 60 leaders and persons who serve under various contracts. The latter includes 55-60 leaders from Europe and other countries who come different periods of time - ten days, a month or a full year - to live at the centre.

The economic crisis has greatly affected us in terms of financial aid for projects we are working on.

We work to make the world better.

We commit ourselves to this alone.

Bujumbura,

Kamenge Youth Centre