Raissa - Burundi

Raissa used to live with her husband and three children on land in Burundi owned by her husband’s family, which they all farmed together. But when her husband died, his family forced her and the children off of the land.

In Burundi, in Central Africa, 90% of the population depends on farming for food. Although women do the majority of the work on the land, laws limit the amount of control they have over the land and the food that it produces. Widows usually have only temporary rights to their husband’s land, but because land is increasingly scarce in Burundi, some women aren’t given any rights at all. RDI is working with the government of Burundi to create new laws that will help secure land for widows like Raissa.

Right now, the best that Raissa and her children can do is to live in a friend’s kitchen. Other women in the community contribute donations of food, and Raissa makes thirty eight cents a day picking sweet potatoes. With the help of her community, Raissa is surviving, but new laws could provide a more secure future for her and her family.

Key terms in this profile:

RDI The Rural Development Institute is an international organization that works with governments of different countries to use national laws to provide land to their poorest people.