Above: Receiving returnees at the transit centre by AIRD Bujumbura staff

To increase the capacity of teams on the ground to welcome and support Burundian returnees from the neighbouring countries of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya and the Republic of Tanzania, a new transit centre was inaugurated on June 16, 2021 by the Burundian Minister of the Interior, Community Development and Public Security.

The transit centre in Gihanga has a capacity of 450 people, and was built by a local UNHCR partner (COPED). However, the management and equipment of this center will be provided by AIRD, also as a local UNHCR partner. AIRD has equipped this center with furniture (tables, chairs, benches), mattresses, protective equipment against COVID, garbage bins, etc.

Above: Visit of the dormitories at the centre by the UNHCR and Government delegation

In their speeches, the Burundian Minister of the Interior and the Deputy Representative of UNHCR encouraged voluntary repatriation while congratulating the various implementing partners of this operation (AIRD, IRC, DGRRR, GVC and World Vision).

Transit centres are temporary homes for refugees and returnees, and managing them well is crucial if displaced people are to feel safe and welcome as they prepare for life outside these locations.

Above: Dance and traditional music during the ceremony

The AIRD Burundi team will work diligently to ensure that returnees are well and ably prepared to finally begin life back in their home country when they leave the transit centre.