After saving 25 children from the massacre she witnessed during the tragic conflict in Burundi in 1993, Marguerite BARANKITSE was met by a growing number of orphans and unaccompanied minors. Contrary to what she had hoped for and expected, the crisis in Burundi lasted much longer forcing her to find long-term solutions to meet the needs of these children.
During its 22 years of work in Burundi, Maison Shalom developed a complex of infrastructures and services including:
- Education – reintegration of children into their community and placement in nursery schools, primary school and vocational training schools ;
- Healthcare – Centre of Protection for Mothers and Children ; REMA Hospital, Nursing school ;
- Community development – network of cooperatives of farmers - UCP « GIRUBUNTU», Micro-loans ITEKA
- Justice – legal assistance for children in prison, centre of re-education for minors ;
- Cultural activities and leisure – cinema, library, swimming pool, cyber;
- Income-generating activities – Bar & Restaurant Frieden, guest houses «Villas des Anges», Garage des Anges, and houses rented to banks, a conference room.
The main goal of these programmes was to transform the community into one capable of fostering its children and offering them an environment where they could flourish.
During the 2015 crisis in Burundi, Maison Shalom denounced the massacres and crimes committed against humanity. This resulted in the closure of its accounts and, later on, the closure of all its activities by the Burundian government.