Virginie Nizigama volunteers at the Village Health Works clinic in Kigutu, Burundi. She grows maize, onions and beans and is an expert on organic fertilizers. She milks the cows, tends the pigs and the chickens and collects the eggs so that patients have a source of protein. She educates people on howto diversify their diets, grow the best varieties of vegetables so they won’t need to come to the clinics as often and keep their children healthy for school. “We can’t eat manioc all the time,” she patiently explains to the others. It grows easily on the hills around Kigutu but so can many other plants that are much more nutritious.
Village Health Works is one of four partners in PWRDF’s All Mothers and Children Count program, made possible by donors across the country and by Global Affairs Canada. In 2005, Virginie’s second child was returned to good with the help of VHW just as the first room of its clinic was being built. When her third child was born in 2006, VHW medical staff delivered her daughter, Iteriteka G;oria, on a grassy area under a tree. Today that 11-year-old is known as Gazon, (French for grass), and she stands as proud as the bit of lawn that still grows under that tree. Says Virginie, “I want to give back, I love being able to share whatever I know.”