A baby here, a baby there

By Irene Ruby Pratka


Yesterday the Duchess of Cambridge went into labour and the world held its breath. The same day, approximately 210,000 other mothers gave birth, on six different continents, in sparkling clean hospitals, in little dark houses and even in open fields.

The same day, Burundi’s ambassador to the UN was giving a speech during a General Assembly session. While he acknowledged that the country has made significant strides on most fronts since the end of the war in 2005, he said, “The poverty in this country has become so blatant that ‘to live’ has become a synonym for ‘not to die’.”

It’s safe to say that this little newborn British boy, whose birth lit up the CN Tower and Niagara Falls in blue, won’t want for anything in his childhood–EXCEPT, I grant, for privacy, and that’s a pretty big except, but I digress. This little boy, elevated by the accident of his birth, will never have to worry where the money for his next meal or medical checkup is coming from, from the cradle to the grave. If ever he needs to travel, and he will, he will never have to worry about the plane ticket or the visa. But for the majority of those 210,000 other babies born to 210,000 other mothers, the situation is very, very different.

The radio station where I work is helping a local NGO with a fundraising drive to raise $5000 to help two Burundian babies born with a potentially fatal heart defect. A French charity will pay the medical expenses, but these impoverished Burundian families have to scrape up the rest– the airlines need them to pay for the ticket, the French Embassy has not exonerated their visa fees and the Burundian government has not exonerated their passport costs, which is a scandal in my opinion. Consequently, the families of Peniel and Anitha need $5000.

Link to original appeal including photos:


Here’s the translation of the original appeal:

Anitha Irutingabo from Bugendana in Gitega Province and Peniel Igiraneza from Bukeye in Muramvya Province need operations for heart defects, which should be carried out in September in France thanks to Mécénat chirurgie cardiaque and Association bon samaritain du Burundi.

To get there, they need 8,842,000 Burundian francs in order to pay:
*plane tickets
*passport fees
*visa fees
*doctors’ commission
*oxygen during the plane ride

The association has already sent 27 children to France for surgery and back over the past two years. For information and to help these children, please contact us at the address below:

Association Bon Samaritain du Burundi (ABOSABU)
Rohero II AV Kunkiko no 127
BP 1488 Bujumbura
Tél + 257 79 445 016 ou + 257 78 445 016

Instead of buying Royal Baby memorabilia, why not consider sending some assistance to these Burundian babies? (and I do plan to put my money where my mouth is, in case you were wondering.)


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