The Association Raphael au Burundi, ARB in short, was set up in 2010. They have been working on administrative matters related to lobbying towards local authorities on the cause of handicapped people and mental disabled people in particular. The identity of there organization is a non-profit organization specialized in matters related to Psycho-Social Intervention for Development.

ARB strives to bring answers to mental handicapped problematics in Burundi based on their identified really needs. As it is believed that poverty brings disability and that disabilty brings poverty, ARB alligns its Social Therapeutic intervention on the Community Based Rehabilitation approach which normally involves 3 levels: Prevention, Intervention and Rehabilitation.

– To organise sensitisation campain towards families and friends with disabled People on rehabilitation activities
– Lobbying towards Burundi local authorities to understand disability problematic  by availing necessary support  to this category of people

So as to provide an adequate coaching to family members on how to assist  mental handicapped people, ARB social workers visit regulary clients in their families. The aim is to create a tandem: Social workers – families, applying orthopedagogic skills while offering daily care to clients.
Social workers make sure appointments from Medical or other related specialists are being met accordingly and needed transfer to specialised institutions are taken care of, after consultations with families, local authorities and ARB staff board.
Various activities are taking place inside as well as outside the ARB center. A Team of ARB trained Social workers work closely with two rotatives groups of 12 clients each, 5 days a week, in Agriculture workshop activities. Since its creation, ARB has initiated farm activities composed of Banana plantation, pine-apple/ananas plantation, vegetables plantation, cassava plantation and Palm Oil trees plantation. The ARB encourages family members of mental handicapped people to participate in those field work for a fee. In time of harvest, the ARB share some harvest among families while the rest is being sold in nearby markets so as to fullfil the ARB income generating goal.
Apart from Agriculture workshop, Social workers organise indoor activities such as Therapeutic painting activity, Music/Dance Therapy and Puzzling.


A. Offering Protection to clients and all stockholders using ARB facilities.
So as to protect Clients, Social workers, the ARB building and fields, a fence around the 2 ha land is needed. This is because the building is exposed to bypassers and curious pedestrians who usually interfere with social workers activities when forcibly try to see how mental handicapped people can be taken care off. Secondly, it is not easy at the time being to introduce our carpentry, tailoring and Kitchen workshops as the material we possess will be left at the mercy of thieves who can easily break in and take away this equipment we did receive from Dufashanye Stichting donors. Lastly, the ARB wants to protect crops in those various plantations and insure protection against the land grabbing from neighbours.
B. Diversification of Activities
With a fence around, ARB will initiate new workshops including the Kitchen workshop as it is not secure to expose expensive materiel in such a remote area.

Structure of ARB

The following is the organisational structure of ARB. :
Board members:
1. André MASUMBUKO:  Managing Director:  Board member
2. Egide BADYATUYAGA:  Project Coordinator:  Board member
3. Immaculée NDARURINZE: Administration and Finance Officer: Board member
4. Placide SINDIHEBURA: Socio Therapeutic Officer: Board member
5. Dr Alois HAKIZIMANA: Doctor/Physician: Board member
Paid Staff:
6. Wellars BIVUGIRE:  Field worker: Employee
7. Anita KWIZERA:  Field worker: Employee
8. Richard NDUWIMANA  Field worker: Employee
9. Diovenant MBAZUMUTIMA: Security worker
10. Nestor NZISABIRA: Security Officer
11. Jimmy CIZA: Office Support Officer (Volunteer)
12 Olive NDAYISABA: Community Development Officer (Volunteer)
The ARB is a Burundi based charitable non governmental organisation registered under the following references: O.M no 530/711 dated 27/04/2010


The direct beneficiaries are mental handicapped and their families. The targetted number of mental handicapped is 120 based on the ARB capacity of intervention. According to ARB estimation, 60% of those are women, 40% are men, 60 % are children, 60% are handicapped and 10% are elderly.
Based on socio-economic situation in the country in general, Burundi is one of the least developped country in the world therefore, handicapped people and their families is the most affected group. With this project handicapped people and their families will become self supportive as the amount of time families spend taking care of their handicapped person, will be used for other socio economic activities while at the same time socio workers will be taking care of clients. Family members with skills or willing to learn new skills will be given a chance to participate in ARB activities therefore increasing opportunities to become financially self Reliant.

Context of the organisation

The ARB through its Psycho – Social therapeutic activities and Medical Care, based on a comprehensive Community Based Rehabilitation programme, plans to reach a TOTAL Social  Cultural and Development Integration of mental handicapped people in Burundi in general and Bubanza province in particular. The starting point is; through sensitisation activities, to let people change mentality on how they persive mental handicapped problematics. Mental handicap is neither a curse nor a burden to close relatives of a particular client. It should rather be considered to be a  responsibilty to each and every one in the community. With mental handicapped in the center, the aim is:
– to enable mental handicapped participate in their daily activities needs through orthopedagogic methods and medical support for the needy;
– to let mental handicapped acquire basic skills to participate in income generating activities organised by ARB;
– to enable families with mental handicapped people to become financially self supportive by allowing them to take the lead in all ARB activities that fit their skills.
The main activities for this project are: Agricultural activities, Indoor Psycho therapeutic activities and soon, carpentry workshop, Tailoring workshop and Kitchen workshop.

Reporter Kwizera Lewis was deeply impressed by the Family Based Rehabilitation project. He wrote this article about it in the Burundian paper.

A new born in social and psycho therapuetic sector in Burundi

Located on a hill, in Bukinga district, Musigati Commune, Bubanza Province, the Social Therapeutic Centre for Mental handicapped has emerged as a solution to many families.

Angeline, a sister to a down syndrome client has expressed satisfaction feelings to the coming of the centre found almost in the middle of nowhere. “ I thank God who has guided The ARB and Dufashanye Foundation to have initiated this project for us poor people who cannot afford to travel miles and miles up to Bujumbura, the capital city of Burundi, so as to get medical care for our relatives. Having this centre here in our neighbourhood is a very precious thing”.

What is the Association Raphael au Burundi?

The Association Raphael au Burundi (ARB), is a Burundi based Non Profit Organisation which aims to assist Mental Handicapped people through its Community Based Rehabilitation Project.

André Masumbuko in the middle

André Masumbuko, a former Dutch resident who currently works and lives in Burundi, after several years having worked with Breidablick Institute in Middenbeemster as Socio Therapist, has come up with this idea of creating a centre which will provide necessary care to mental handicapped people in Burundi. It is in this perspective that a group of Burundian from different background including a Psychotherapist, a Social therapists, an ergo therapists, a specialist in community based projects and an financial administrative specialist came together to make this dream a reality.

What are the ARB objectives?

The ARB objectives among others include:

  • To create a Rehabilitation Centre for mental handicapped;
  • To protect and Promote handicapped rights in general and mental in particular;
  • To participate in improving mental handicapped living standards by facilitating them an access to health care and appropriate therapeutic intervention;
  • To organise, educate and integrate mental handicapped in the community through appropriate vocation skills training and by initiating income generating activities;
  • Lobbying towards potential donors and other stakeholders in mental deficiency sector for matters regarding handicapped rights;
  • To elaborate and implement Community Based Schemes on Prevention, Intervention and Rehabilitation Programmes for mental handicapped.

However, the ARB in partnership with Dufashanye Foundation, a Dutch based Non Government Organisation has initiated a construction project of a complexe which will be used as: Offices, Medical Cabinet, Multipurpose hall, a Kitchen and a Restaurant in Musigati Commune, Bubanza Province.

A group of social workers has benefited a training and are currently busy implementing ARB Projects and Programmes.

Therapeutic intervention

Mental deficiency that characterises our clients, is part of their daily life. “It determines a mode of existence which is incompatible with the normal conditions of life and work in our society. (G.DUCOMMUN socio-therapist). The approach of intervention proposed by the Association Raphael au Burundi (ARB) corresponds to the real needs of people who cannot be integrated in a normal system because of their disorders. However, their disability does not require admission to a psychiatric hospital.

Working in the centre will help clients to gain greater autonomy in the following aspects: – Physical – Emotional – Social, making them suitable for further integration with social life. In general, the affection and relationship with clients is created in every single minute through quality and warmth acquired by the presence of another. The educator creates a bond of life to clients by allowing an active communication through listening and providing an adequate response to them. The life of the community arises from reciprocity. The initiation of activities in daily rhythm will be determined according to the needs and capacities of residents. Groups support in a friendly work environment will be organized so as to stimulate a suitable social and cultural life.


The ARB expresses its gratitude to DUFASHANYE Foundation and all its partners to have fully supported all the construction work and other ARB activities financially. It also thanks local authorities for their moral support and to have carried out sensitisation campaign on ARB projects and Programmes.

Kwizera Lewis

Freelancer Reporter