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Foster families support Burundi’s lost girls

This photo series shows how girls who have become orphaned or separated from their families while fleeing the conflict in Burundi are being kept safe by foster families in Tanzanian refugee camps.

Since the Burundian civil war began in 2015, more than 250,000 people have fled to neighbouring countries such as Tanzania. Many are unaccompanied girls who have been orphaned or become separated from their parents during their journeys to safety.

I feel very secure under the care of my foster parent. She treats me like her own child 

Adolescent girls, especially those who are unaccompanied, face some of the greatest risks during emergencies including violence, child marriage, teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.

Plan International works in 3 refugee camps in Northwest Tanzania to connect the unaccompanied girls with foster families who take care of them. We are also working to trace the girls’ parents and reunite families where possible.

In the slideshow below, girls from Burundi share their experiences of living in Tanzanian refugee camps.

  • Burundian refugee Bernice*, 12
    Bernice*, 12: “There is a difference between here and Burundi. I am getting food, a place to sleep and care from my foster parent. It helps me feel safer. I want to work for Plan International and help the other refugee children.”
  • Burundian refugee, Nella*, 16
    Nella*, 16: “I feel safer than I did in Burundi. I would struggle to sleep but here I can actually sleep for a whole night. I have a foster parent providing care for me and I go to school here too. It makes me very happy.”
  • Burundian refugee, Ineza*, 16
    Ineza*, 16: “At the moment I feel okay, but sometimes I still get scared. I feel better now I am with a foster parent who helps me and my child. I want to learn to be a tailor.”
  • Burundian refugee Jeanine*, 16
    Jeanine*, 16: “The life of teenage girls like me is not easy in the camp. I feel strongly that I would like to help other children after school by being a child protection person to see that all children are safe.”
  • Burundian refugee Aline*, 16
    Aline*, 16: “I feel very secure under the care of my foster parent. She treats me like her own child and helps provide anything I might need like school books. I am currently doing training with Plan International, learning to make bread.”
  • Burundian refugee Lyse*, 17
    Lyse*, 17: “In Burundi I was afraid of being killed. Now it is better because Plan International is providing support. I’m in a tailoring training project and hope I will be able to earn a living and look after myself in the future.”
  • Burundian refugee Alida*
    Alida*: “I am so relieved to be here and to feel secure. My one-month-old baby and I have been fostered with help from Plan International. It’s my wish to become a successful businesswoman.”
  • Burundian refugee Audrey*, 17
    Audrey*, 17: “I get on really well with my foster mother and there are no problems. She cooks for me so I have food after school and it makes life a lot better in the camp."

Learn more about our work to keep girls safe during emergencies

*Names have been changed to protect identities