Judo and Peace in Gihanga, Burundi…

IJF News Oct 06: On Saturday, October 1st, Judo was celebrated in Gihanga, 20 km outside of the city of Bujumbura, the capital of (Gihanga Burundi).For many years, Gihanga was not a pleasant place to live in as it was in the middle of the front lines during the civil war, but today, times have changed. Since 2001, the Turikumwe project (all together in Kirundi, native language of Burundi) has helped to rebuild a peaceful environment for the population by using judo as a social development tool.

Today, the Burundi Judo Federation is very active in the area of Gihanga, where insecurity was the master word of youth who only had weapons as toys. Last Saturday, on the occasion of the “International Day for Peace” organized in Gihanga in partnership with Peace and Sport, two young female judoka, Nadege and Tania were honored.

Indeed, both of them obtained a gold medal on the occasion of the last East African Championship in July. It must be said that when the Turikumwe project began in the region some years ago, it was impossible to imagine girls practicing judo. The ladies are now the driving force of judo in Gihanga.

The Gihanga local authorities are convinced that sports can change the atmosphere in the whole region, despite the terrible consequences of the war. During the ceremony, the Provincial Governor, the Senator and President of the city of Gihanga, the representative of the Minister of Sport, Youth and Culture and the President of the National Judo Federation were present. The theme of the day was: “Through sport, let us plant the seeds of lasting peace among young people”.

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