Maria Arafasha, Burundi

Shrine - See of María ArafasháThe Foundation “Mariya Arafasha” (Mary Helps), whose beginning dates to 2006 and has institutional support from Maria Ayuda – Chile, is present with two very well defined social programs:  The first, with the aim to help children on the street, and the second, aimed at reinserting them into education.  It seeks to specifically improve the situation of children and youths who are victims of the civil war.


The objectives of Mary Helps are three:

  • Direct social assistance:  this is of three types:
  1. Children of the street:  to be able to remove them from this environment, educate them, to be concerned with saving their families, etc.
  2. The youth:  to give them, in particular, access to education, scholarships, health insurance, etc.
  3. Workshops to learn a trade:  sewing, carpentry, etc.
  • Education:  develop schools, with the aim of providing quality education to the poorest.
  • Peace and reconciliation:  this is a neuralgic point for the country, and for it, many activities promoting these so needed values must take place.  Singing, theatre, dance, etc., are being used to fulfill these aims.

What here looks so systematic really has its roots in life.  God speaks to us through events.



We are “Mary’s children”

Building - María ArafashaGirizina (that you may have a name) is a program to help street children.  They have quickly adopted another name, now they are called “Mary’s children.”  The objective is that they recover their dignity as persons.  It is a great joy to see these ex-street children.  It is impressive to experience their joy and to confirm that they have truly begun a new life.  The majority of them go to school and the older ones also learn a skill that will soon allow them to work.


Help me to study

Girumuvyey! (that you may have parents) is a program which seeks to facilitate orphaned children being able to go to school.  At the present time, primary education is free in Burundi, but not secondary education.  For this reason, many youths who are capable and motivated to continue their education, find themselves leaving school because they lack the resources to pay the annual tuition that is not more than $40 US dollars per year.  It is difficult to believe it, but many families are not able to raise this amount as little as it seems.  There is an additional problem:  the youths find themselves pressured by their parents to leave school in order to help out the household with the cultivation of the land and the hard daily tasks in the fields.

“Help me to study” is the name of the campaign with which Mary Helps – Chile seeks to collect money to finance the return to school of 150 Burundi boys and girls who belong to the branch of the Corporation in Africa.  Some 150 boys and girls hope for the assistance to pay for one year’s tuition, the uniform and their school supplies, and thus give them the possibility of completing their studies and be able to go on to other opportunities for forging a better future for themselves and for their country.

“Queen of Peace”

July 4, 2009, was the inauguration for the “Queen of Peace” Center.  At the beginning, it will provide an orphanage (internal) for the “children of Mary” (ex-street children) and other orphans will also be sheltered.  If the means allow it, some 100 children and youths will receive assistance.

Also planned is the construction of a technical school so these children, along with others, can learn a trade.  In addition, the technical education will facilitate the creation of employment in a country in which unemployment and poverty have surpassed a tolerable level.  Later, God willing, other works of public interest will be constructed with the vision to provide education for all and contribute to the consolidation of peace.

For more information, click on (French, English) or

Contact, voluntary donations

Fr. Deogratias Maruhukiro, Mont Sion Gijungu, B.P. 374, Bujumbura, Burundi


Av. Patrice Lumumba B.P. 300
Denomination Sociale: Mariya Arafasha
Account Number:  00201-0125615-47 Euros
IBAN: BI 10 2010 1256 1547


Translation: Carlos Cantú, Schoenstatt Family Federation, La Feria, Texas USA 12162011