Bilar Bigirimana

Bilar Bigiramana profile

Bilar Bigiramana

My name is Bigirimana Bilar and I am 11 years old. My father lives in Burundi. Before I came to Rwanda, I was a street kid in Burundi. In Burundi, two things happened to me that I’ve always worried about since that time. First, I was captured on the street along with some killers by policemen. They took me to prison, and had to share the same cell with them. I didn’t sleep the whole time I was in that prison. Second, one day, Doctors Without Borders came and told me I had to be circumcised because I had developed a disease.

When I came to Rwanda, I thought my life would be better. I came here with my mother, but we struggled to find food and she died after a few months. She abandoned me in the middle of nowhere. Since then, I can only count on myself to survive.

On the street, I learned many strategies to survive: I pretended to be a blind beggar to get money; other times, I stole. The first time I was on the street, I didn’t realize that street life was hard and dangerous, especially for little kids like me. Yet, all those who passed by, liked me and gave me a lot of money. Sometimes I earned 40,000 Rwandan francs (about $65 USD) every day because I was one of the little kids living on that street. With the money, I bought a telephone, then a bicycle, but the big street kids stole it.

FIDESCO found me on the street and brought me here. I started dancing in the RDDC program at FIDESCO, but after a few days, I escaped FIDESCO’s centre and I went back to living on the street. But then, I finally realized how dangerous street life can be: people beat me and the big street kids tried to kill me many times.

I missed dancing when I was back on the street. One day, I was in a bus wondering how I could get another chance to learn how to dance. Just by coincidence, I saw Innocent (one of RDDC’s dance teachers at FIDESCO) in the same bus with me. He asked me if I still want to dance. I said, “Yes!” Innocent gave me money to buy a bus ticket to go to FIDESCO and take dance class the next Wednesday. When I came to the dance class, all the FIDESCO kids were absent because there was a special trip that day. RDDC’s Country Director, Eugene, took me to FIDESCO and asked if I could stay at the centre. They accepted me back.

I want to study and work hard because I had a dream when I was sleeping on the street that one day I should become the president of Burundi, my beloved country. I like dance because I hope that dance can drive me so far in the future. I miss school, and every time I think of school, I am worried that I have lost my chance to go to school forever.

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