The pandemic threatens vulnerable families.

Detained minors in Burundi: learning to live without violence

Terre des hommes supports young people detained in Bujumbura central prison by helping them go back to school and reintegrate society. Psychosocial activities give them an opportunity to learn how to prevent violent behaviour.

Preventing more violence


For many children, conflict with the justice system has a negative effect on their development. Faced with risks such as insufficient protection in legal processes, harsh police systems and appalling prison conditions, they have little hope for the future. Tdh supports young people detained in Bujumbura central prison through a violence prevention programme.


Twice a week, adolescents are encouraged to take part in awareness-raising activities especially designed by Tdh teams for this context. Through sports sessions, theatre classes and workshops on body language and artistic expression, these young people explore the consequences of violent behaviour and learn how to avoid it. They are taught to identify their own and others’ emotions, control impulses, develop empathy and communicate respectfully.


Our intervention strategy consists of:


- strengthening children in conflict with the law or children at risk of it. Children are at the heart of our violence and crime prevention project. They are treated as actors, whether in defining the problems they encounter, in finding solutions to overcome them or in implementing these solutions.


- strengthening the capacities of child protection actors through the training of Child Protection Committees, raising the awareness in the community about child protection and specialising justice actors in restorative juvenile justice.


- developing new services such as community referral systems, a child helpline, violence prevention particularly for sexual delinquency, as well as community social work.


- helping children at risk and/or victims directly by developing a range of services adapted to the needs of the most vulnerable children, including education, health, etc.


Our coordinator of psychosocial activities in Burundi, Mylène Ntamatungiroa, attended a ceremony where young prisoners were awarded certificates for attending literacy classes. “I remember the children shaking hands with the prison director’s representative when they got their certificates. They were so proud as they looked at their parents in the crowd. For many, it was the first time they’d been awarded anything. One mother spoke. She had tears in her eyes as she described how happy she was to see her son smiling, confident and able to write her letters. It was the last thing she expected in this context.”


This project is supported by the Ministry of Justice’s child protection unit (Cellule Nationale de Protection Judiciaire – CNPJ) and Kamenge Youth Centre.