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Aïsha Uwilloreye, Mutimbuzu, Bujumbura

“I certainly see an improvement comparing my childhood and my current live. It's unbelievable, even our parents changed thanks to our actions.”
  Watch or read Aïsha's story below:

Bridging ethnic differences

An old, big scar on the jaw of the 24- years old Aïsha immediately tells the whole story behind the actions of the young, industrious woman:
Once I, as a Hutu, was playing with a Tutsi child. My mother was furious! She acted like I just killed someone and she also made it very clear that Tutsis were bad. To make this clear she punished me in a harsh physical way.
This incident shows clearly in which social environment Aïsha grew up: one were parents didn't tolerate ethnic differences. So, as illustrated by the story of Aïsha, Hutu parents always prevented that their children could play with children from a Tutsi family and vice versa. Like with Aïsha, sometimes it happened that a kid who didn't obey this rule had to undergo very harsh punishments.

Messages of reconciliation

Aïsha didn't want the next generations of Hutu's and Tutsi's also to live in a constant conflict and hate towards each other so she decided to do something about this problem: she founded an association for women. She talks proudly about it:
Within this association, we sometimes organize events where we sing and dance, conveying messages of reconciliation. Both Hutus and Tutsi are present at these different activities.
Now the association became larger and also men are allowed. Once they organized a football match: “Both Hutus and Tutsi went for the victory but eventually the match ended in a draw. We have realized that the hatred of our parents was not really valid.”

Dreaming of ethnic tolerance

Aïsha feels extremely proud of her accomplishments:
I certainly see an improvement comparing my childhood and my current live. It's unbelievable, even our parents changed thanks to our actions.
And she is definitely not planning to rest on her laurels: “I dream that in 3 to 5 years I will have become an important person in my field and that the ethnic problem will be gone in Burundi.”
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