Mylène Ntamatungiroa,
coordinator in charge of raising awareness in Burundi

“Klerya is nine. When I met her, she couldn’t speak. She was afraid, sad and lonely. Now she’s happy, she takes initiatives and she’s even starting to speak!”

Using games to change lives

“I met Klerya a few months ago taking part in recreational activities for vulnerable children. She was nine and resitting her first year of primary school. She could not speak and was afraid, sad and lonely. Whenever she used gestures, the other children made fun of her. But when I went back to the centre last week, I asked how she was doing. Her teacher said to me, ‘Klerya? You wouldn’t recognise her. She’s happy and she takes initiatives. She participates in class and, with the progress she’s making, she’ll probably skip a year. She’s finally made a place for herself with the other children, who are now her friends. They all look out for her. The best news is that she’s starting to speak – with difficulty, of course, and only when she feels like it, but it’s a start. I’m sure she’ll speak properly one day.’

Who would have guessed that recreational activities could have such an impact on a child’s life?”