What is New Generation?
New Generation a pioneering nation-building programme mentoring leaders of integrity for the future Burundi, with street children as a central resource. It takes street children work to another level.
New Generation was founded by and is headed by a former street child and visionary, Dieudonne Nahimana. Dieudonne found himself living on the streets with other street children after the brutal murder of his father during the war. Dieudonne says that in the streets he noticed something.
“street children were one of the first groups to throw away the notion of ethnic difference in Burundi”
This inspired him to set up New Generation, a project that drew strength from and with street children to not only get kids off the streets but also to develop leaders for a new Burundi.
New Generation has three main components:
1. Street children: New generation empowers street children to be able to leave street life and be reintegrated back into society. It has a stabilisation centre in Bujumbura where street children can come to straight off the streets and receive care, counsel, nutrition, healthcare and education. Children are assessed and if possible reintegrated. If this is not possible the children are able to grow up at one of two New Generation houses in Bujumbura. New Generation also fights human trafficking. This started during the war, by stopping rebels from using street children as child soldiers. It is now focused on ensuring that street girls are not trafficked to Uganda for the sex trade.
2. Leadership Training: New Generation selects potential leaders emerging from the local schools as well as street children to be leaders of integrity. They learn from each other infusing the experiences of street children as central to their learning. It develops as many young people as possible to be leaders for change. This is a nation-building programme built on the experiences of street children and other good leadership principles.
3. Reconciliation and Peace Building: New Generation has clubs in schools and communities where members work towards developing and changing their community. This is a direct response to the war and in Dieudonne’s words: “these are the opposite of the clubs (perhaps gangs) that happened during the war where young people meet to do drugs, sex and war.” NG Clubs are youth clubs for children 16 years and above. When they join they undertake training which finishes in one year. When training is complete, they are able to help train others
Many graduates of New Generation have gone on to play important roles in Burundi and continue to play key roles in the direction of New Generation. New Generation not only sees street children as victims but also as a resource for the new Burundi. This is exciting!
Street Action directly supports New Generation’s work with street children.
The Tree Café: New Generation has a sustainable local income initiative that has just started called the Tree Café. This is a local coffee shop and café that has been designed to provide local sustainable income. It was launched in October 2012.
Street Action has funded the start-up of this sustainable income project.