Homes for HOPE

Finding Home | Saidi’s story

May 8, 2024

BURUNDI – According to the UNHCR (the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees), 99% of the 85,200 refugees and asylum seekers living in Burundi come from the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo (UNHCR, 2024). This was the story for Saidi Sango living in the Kavumu camp in Burundi. Life was difficult as a refugee, and resources were often scarce.

Like so many of the men and women HOPE International serves, Saidi had skills and ideas but needed capital to bring his ideas to life. “I had in my mind a project but had no idea where to find money… I struggled to buy clothes for [my] children, we had to eat food given by UNHCR, (and) I had difficulty to get (a) loan if I needed it.

In 2021, Saidi learned about a savings group in his church. All around the world, HOPE equips church partners to launch savings groups, reaching their communities with biblically based training and a safe place to save. With an initial $50 loan from his savings group, Saidi started a carpentry business in the refugee camp, making handcrafted chairs, doors, and cabinets. His emphasis on quality built a solid reputation, and he found that there was great interest in his products. He used his second loan to hire workers to help him meet the increased demand.

Saidi speaks of his group members like extended family. In a home that isn’t quite home, his “chosen family” shows up for one another. “They visit me when I am in hard times and they don’t come hands free, they bring me something. I am happy to be in a second family of friends who fear God and serve Him faithfully.”

Now, Saidi plans to expand his business and teach more refugees carpentry skills so they can create income for themselves and their families. As he shares,

After benefiting [from] the good things of the savings group and implementing my project, I’ve been able to improve my family life. [My] children can go to school, I buy them clothes, we eat well, and I got friends I didn’t know before.”

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