Maison Shalom - REMA hospital

Implementation and operation of a referral hospital in Ruyigi



Testimonial from Dr Thierry Mako, director of REMA hospital

“The presence of REMA hospital in a region where people previously had nowhere to go for healthcare has drastically improved the quality of life of the population in the eastern region thanks to support from the Jean-François Peterbroeck Foundation.” “With the provision of equipment and technical assistance, with all the different training courses the doctors and nurses have followed, in less than four years the REMA hospital achieved the level of a regional referral hospital, as demonstrated by transfers coming from other hospitals in the region.” “Today REMA hospital is among the most functional hospitals in Burundi.”

Testimonial from Aïsha, HIV positive mother and patient at REMA hospital.

On 24 April 2006, Aïsha, who is HIV positive, gave birth to twins Ada and Aïda. She tells us about the gratitude she feels towards 'Maison Shalom' for the current state of health of her two girls, who are safe and sound.

"It was right at the start of the Mother-to-Child Prevention Programme and to me the theory of being able to give birth to a child who wasn't infected seemed unrealistic. I was pregnant with twins too, so I really couldn't believe it. So one morning on 24 April 2006, the doctor recommended that the operating theatre be prepared to give me a caesarean, a practice that was encouraged at that time to protect children at birth. When I regained consciousness, the doctor invited my mother-in-law and husband to explain to them that I should never breastfeed my children in order to give them more protection, and that I had to give them artificial milk. I was concerned that I didn't have the means to buy us this milk, but the doctor said that 'Maison Shalom' could give us some.  

With much hesitation, we went to ask for it, we showed my medical paper, and we were served right away. My children never suffered from hunger nor from any particular problems because the Centre for Maternal and Child Health did everything they could to help my situation. In November 2007, when my children were 18 months old, they had a test done and the result was negative. Incredible! I had them retake the test three times to put my mind at ease, and now my children are six years old. They already go to school and they're in good health. So I am infinitely grateful to 'Maison Shalom', via REMA hospital, as they spared no efforts for my children's well-being."

Testimonial from Goreth, mother of triplets and patient at REMA hospital

"After learning that I was carrying triplets, I almost lost my head, and everyone was surprised at my reaction. At first I thought it would be immediate death because I didn't believe I could give birth to three children. Thanks to divine providence and the competent staff at REMA hospital, I was lucky enough to have all three children in good health. But then I didn't know how to feed them with our low family income. It's the perfect opportunity for me to express my great appreciation for the service I received at the REMA hospital complex. I believe that my children and I are the only ones to have gained so much from 'Maison Shalom' since it was set up. Today my children are beautiful and in good health. Now my despair has become my hope."


KIGALI (Rwanda) _ Célébration du 25ème anniversaire de Maison Shalom

Fashion show for children, fashion design, organic permaculture gardens, the Centre Elite with its well-stocked library, a foreign language training centre, website designers and tailors. And all around, gardens, fruit trees, vegetable gardens, small houses on the site built by the refugees themselves, with small recently planted parks.

These are only some of the activities that are organised at the Mahama refugee camp in Rwanda, where more than 60,000 Burundian refugees live and work. It is one of the many places where Maison Shalom, an NGO founded by Maggy Batankitse 25 years ago, rolls out its innovative approach to humanitarian crisis resolution.

Unlike the refugee camps we see on television and on the social media, Mahama is a centre of opportunities where citizens of all social classes, forced into exile by the Burundian dictatorship, are given a helping hand to restore the dignity of daily life.

This philosophy towards humanitarian work looks beyond the degrading circumstances generally associated with refugees who are "discarded" in a camp, and lays the foundation for restoring the dignity and self-esteem of individuals and families. An ongoing project that aims to serve as a model for transforming refugee camps around the world.

The Rwandan capital, Kigali, is currently hosting more than 200 people who support Maggy Barankitse's projects around the world who have come to meet the inhabitants of the Burundian diaspora and representatives of Rwandan civil society and administration who are pursuing a commendable policy of welcoming and collaborating with international institutions (UNHCR, UNICEF and many others).

Humanitarian workers, benefactors, entrepreneurs, academics and ordinary citizens who support the most fragile members of society “at home”, have gathered to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Maison Shalom and express their gratitude to Maggy Barankitse, an extraordinary woman who does not shy away from tackling the many humanitarian tragedies that have plunged the Great Lakes region into bloodshed, from the civil war that devastated Burundi in 1993 to forced exile in recent years.

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