Stories and podcasts WBW Stories Burundi: A Vision of the Future I am Renovat Moody, a 22-year-old British citizen born in Burundi, the heart of Africa. I have recently graduated from Plymouth College of Art, earning a BA (Hons) in 3D Design Crafts. I was born in 1995 during a civil war. Life was not easy in those conditions. During this period of time, my life altered. My father was killed in the war, and my mum was so grief stricken she could not look after us and left the area. This led to my brother and myself being separated from my family as we left the area to go to the capital city. There we met a lady who helped us by taking us into her care. An English friend of hers came to visit and she was asked to help. At a later date she decided to adopt me since we thought that there were no surviving relatives. Before that took place, I discovered my birth mother was still alive; that she had returned to claim my father's house and land back where she now lives. She gave her permission for the adoption to go ahead. Even though I live in England today with my adopted family, I continue to speak to my mum and family in Burundi over the phone and on social media. My brother is older than I am and now he is a Canadian citizen, we regularly speak on the phone. Ever since I left Burundi at 8 years old, I vowed to myself that one day, I would try my best to help Burundi. The dream I had from 8 years old – plans to help my people – still remain strong within me today. I have decided to continue pursuing that dream for as long as possible. My plan is to use the farm settlement and land my father left for me and my brother. I want to use the land in a productive way to help develop the community. The aim is to transform my family’s land into a functioning farm, one that is self-sustaining. I want to breed cattle and grow food on the land. This will help provide employment, as well as help improve the living standards of the people in that region. I have already started the project. However, as I have recently graduated, I haven’t accomplished as much as I would like just yet. Being a glassblower, I have been selling my work in galleries, exhibitions and to private clients. I have been sending half of the money I make from the sales from my designs to Burundi to help develop the farm settlement. So far, I have been able to buy some cows, which have already started breeding. We have also been able to start growing food on the land we have. At present, a percentage of food we produce is regularly given away to six single mothers in the community to help feed them and their families. I intend for this to increase as the farm expands and is more self-sufficient. We currently also have 4 workers who live in our family compound. Working for us has helped these people to provide for their families, and we have also given them additional support when they have needed it. We want to bring employment on a larger scale and support more Burundians. To achieve this, we need to increase the herd of cows and grow more crops. This way the farm will start to make money and with more money it will start being self-sustaining and have capital to be able to continue growing. As more finance is generated, more people can be helped, and I want to continue giving away a portion of every harvest to those in need, as well as 70% of all milk produced by the cows once the herd reaches to a sustainable size. However, this is something I will need financial help with in order to accelerate things in the right direction. I am hoping that enough people will believe in this vision and want to help me accomplish my dream by helping financially. As donors engage with this social enterprise, it is my intention to provide them with regular updates of new developments, as well as to anyone interested in hearing about them. The aims are: To buy three hectares of land to grow more food and to provide grazing grounds for cattle. To buy a large food transportation truck that will help with the moving of the food harvested. To buy generators to bring power to the farm and enable refrigeration, lighting and other machines that will require power. To support single mothers and their children. For example, we have bought clothes, shoes and provided food for local families who have lost their husbands and fathers. I would like to build houses for children on the farm where they can be nurtured in a family setting, not in an institution. They will be taught life skills and be educated, as primary age children have free schooling in Burundi. Buy water pumps, which will bring water to the farm for domestic use and be used for irrigation. As we continue to build our capacity and give back to our community, it is my hope that Burundi can prosper. For more information on Renovat’s project you can email him on [email protected] About the Author.