Dr. Rivers with the First Lady of Burundi, Mrs. Denise Bucumi Nkurunziza, holding the M.A.D.I.B. t-shirt.
DCHS Students Adopt a Country
According to www.huffingtonpost.com, Burundi is the fifth poorest country in the world, with over 85% of the population living in poverty. In May of 2010, Dr. Clyde Rivers, Honorary Consul for the Republic of Burundi, approached me with the idea of having Desert Christian High School adopt Burundi. The original plan was for students of Desert Christian to raise funds to enhance the educational system in the country. The goal was to send school supplies to students and to build roofs for their schools.
Mrs. Enos and Mr. Thomas, along with seven students—Charisma C., Taylor B., Austin H., Michael G., Kaylee M., Brooke M, and Ruth M. —decided to see how to make this a reality. Over the summer, we met with Dr. Rivers and planned ways to help this impoverished country. The first thing we decided was the name M.A.D.I.B, which stands for “Making a Difference in Burundi.” Next, one of our students designed a t-shirt for our project. At the beginning of the school year, we started a club that was open to the whole student body, with hopes of generating interest in the project, support for our club and funds for the nation. The shirts can be worn every Wednesday in support of our efforts. Little did we know that our shirt, designed by our very own senior, Brooke M., would generate such an international response!
In December, Dr. Rivers took a business trip to Burundi and showed the t-shirt to several government officials. He also shared about the M.A.D.I.B. project and what Desert Christian High School was attempting to accomplish. Upon seeing the t-shirt, the First Lady of Burundi, Mrs. Denise Bucumi Nkurunziza, expressed to Dr. Rivers that the logo was the exact vision she had for her foundation. Named the Buntu foundation, its purpose is to create and build various ways of helping, supporting, teaching, and coaching vulnerable and helpless people in the Burundian society—widows, widowers, elderly, orphans, handicapped, HIV/AIDS victims, abnormal children, and the victims of the Civil War. The First Lady requested that DCHS would raise money to send M.A.D.I.B. t-shirts and polo shirts to Burundi, as she desires that these shirts be worn by her cabinet members. In short, she would like the M.A.D.I.B. shirt to be the official shirt of the Buntu foundation!
Many students outside of the club have joined in our efforts to raise support for Burundi. One example is senior, Luke P., who has initiated the organization of a school talent show with all proceeds going to the M.A.D.I.B. project. This project continues to teach us that our ministry may not only impact those in our immediate demographics, but may reach people in other parts of the world!