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Refugees Share Their Skills with the Lutheran Communion

Crafted from used food sacks, these baskets made by Burundian refugees in Tanzania, embody a people's hope and optimism.

When Burundians fled civil war in their country nine years ago, they had to leave everything behind. Everything, that is, except their skills.

These traditional Burundian baskets are woven by refugee women in the camps run by the Tanganyika Christian Refugee Service (TCRS), the country program of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) Department for World Service, based in western Tanzania.

In various shapes and sizes, the baskets are made from the used plastic sacks in which the refugees’ food rations are delivered. This work not only makes a small contribution to a cleaner environment; it also helps to supplement their income, and gives them hope for the future.

The TCRS cares for 140,000 Burundian refugees, overseeing their basic food, shelter, and sanitation needs. In addition, the program supports secondary education, and peace and reconciliation activities throughout the camps and in the host community. The baskets will be used during worship at the LWF Tenth Assembly in Winnipeg.

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