Maison Shalom fundraises for Burundian refugees


Photo courtesy of Maison Shalom

From left: Seniors Danna Taveras, Alison Razafimandimby, Shiima Nantulya and Yness Seidnaly write encouraging letters for Burundian refugees to boost their spirits.

On the other side of the world, Burundian refugees have fled to Rwanda to escape hostility and brutality. Maison Shalom is fundraising for Burundian refugees to create awareness throughout the community. The club has developed ideas to help raise money for the Burundian children.

When president of Maison Shalom, senior Shiima Nantulya, visited Rwanda, she saw young children being deprived of essential nourishment. In addition, feminine hygiene products were not being distributed which posed an issue.

“Maison Shalom is having a clothing drive where people can donate items such as tampons, pads and clothing to a bin in the front of the school, which will be out for a week,” junior Marina Thorn said.

Maison Shalom is planning an art sale and is asking for art piece donations. Also, Nantulya has dresses, bags, purses and other items made by the refugees that will be sold.

We want an interactive event and not just a restaurant fundraiser because aside from raising money, we want to create awareness.

— Nantulya

Maggy Barankitse, founder of Maison Shalom and activist from Burundi, is visiting in December to interact with students and spread recognition. She came last year and was impressed with the amount of people who wanted to learn about this topic.

“I think it was surreal when she was here and the turnout was great… it raised more awareness and the emotional impact was a bit stronger because we have the founder of Maison Shalom come and speak in front of a young audience about the indifference,” senior vice president Yness Seidnaly said.

While having a partnership with a refugee camp located in Rwanda, Maison Shalom aims to give the refugees opportunities to better themselves that they otherwise would not have. The primary objective is improvement through education, which has allowed countless refugees to better their lives and find success amid their difficult situation.

Nantulya is of Burundian origin and has visited Rwanda to see the refugee experience for herself. This experience affected her so deeply that she felt compelled to share her mission with the community.

Nantulya wanted to have her own chapter because she encountered what the refugees had to endure, and she wanted to raise money for the organization. She hopes to pursue Maison Shalom in college and for it to continue at WJ.