Burundi Friends International Empowering Communities, Eliminating Poverty

One People, One Destiny, in Peaceful Co-Existence

Burundi is a small country in central East Africa located between the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Tanzania. While the native language of Burundi is Kirundi, most Burundians also speak Swahili and French.

An urgent push to acquire basic proficiency in English is driven by the formation of the East African Community (EAC), an economic union of six area countries. The EAC promotes shared infrastructure, customs, currency, and market outreach to Africa and the world: “One People, One Destiny, in Peaceful Co-Existence.”


Burundi is divided into 18 provinces with its capital in Gitega. Although a small country, it has a population of 11.83 million people. That's twice as many people as the state of Maryland with about the same land area.

Currently, 56% of Burundi's population is under the age of 20, making the youth in Burundi their greatest asset. The potential of youth can be immense if engaged today!

Our Mission

Burundi Friends International (BFI) provides opportunities in English education and economic empowerment to youth, women, and men in Burundi. By doing so, we are building self-sustaining communities in one of the poorest and least known countries in the world.

Board of Directors

  • Liz Clarke, Chair and Treasurer
  • Val Quick, Secretary
  • Krista Freitag, Internal Control Officer
  • Prosper Gahungu
  • Nicholas Kawuka
  • Barbara Kelly
  • Rene Keres
  • Patricia Kidwingira
  • Ashleigh Montgomery
  • Tracy Cambron West
  • Thierry Yungenge

Advisory Board

  • Jeanine Niyonzima-Aroian, Founder
  • Leonce Ndikumana
  • Alice Niyondagara
  • Doug Novak

U.S. Staff

  • Julie Marner, Executive Director
  • Melissa Flores, Program Coordinator

Burundi Staff

  • Karorero Xavier, BFI In-Country Team Leader
  • Innocent Niyongabo, BFI In-Country Team Leader
  • Odette Habonimana, BFI In-Country Team Leader
  • Celestin Habimana, General Manager
  • Florentine Nzisabira, Legal Council
  • Audifax Bakundukize, Advisor
  • Prosper Niyongere, Secretary
  • Grace Rutabandi, Treasurer

Our Impact

We began in 2011 with 35 students, and now ...

BFI Clubs

  • 54,033+ students
  • 2,293+ volunteers
  • 238,508 volunteer hours served

Economic Empowerment Groups

  • 300 Women Empowered Groups
  • 7,000 participants
"In every corner of Burundi we find there are BFI volunteers, ie. change agent," -Dieudonné Maniragaba, the provincial leader of Education at Ruyigi BFI.

BFI Business Model

Our English Students form Savings Groups and learn how to manage small businesses as a team to make them successful in the marketplace.

College Tuition Program

Creative. Smart. Hopeful. Entrepreneurial. Innovative. These characteristics exemplify our college students. They are the future, the ones who will lead Burundi’s 5 million children under the age of 15.

BFI offers college tuition scholarships to our best and brightest leaders, shining models of service to community. They dare to dream, achieve and lead Burundi to tomorrow’s development solutions.
"Your contributions in youth empowerment are playing vital role in soul and community transformation for a better world to live!" -NZISABIRA Edouard

WE Savings Groups

Pilot Groups

  • 12 Groups With 273 Members
  • USD $10,074 Saved ... 35.6% Return On Savings After One Year!

Rotary Global Grant Expansion

  • 48 New Groups Formed
  • 1,056 Individuals Added

Future Expansion

  • USD $60,000 Matching Funds From PCI

How We Compare

"Dear BFI, You are recreating hope in the heart of Burundians from parents to sons and daughters," -Chlamyde Mengengwa, Ngozi provincial Coordinator of BFI

Consolidated Financials

Looking Ahead

USD $125,000 Grant Brings IT Opportunities to Burundi!

"You are not training us fast enough!"

USD $60,000 Matching Funds Dedicated to Our WE Savings Program!