In the heart of Africa, Burundi is one of the world’s poorest countries. In the Commune of Bukinanyana to the north of the country we find the region of Masango, where the Nuns from the Sisters of Charity Congregation in Novara have established an important health centre for the local population. The Sisters are guided by Suor Cellina, who has been working in the region for over 25 years.
To give the local population a better quality of life, the Rotary Club of Orta San Giulio has been very active over the years, restoring a hydroelectric turbine to provide the people with power and, above all in the construction of a basic hospital and orphanage that have contributed to saving many lives.
The Fantini company has also contributed greatly to helping the population of Masango, through the project 100 FONTANE FANTINI FOR AFRICA, a shining example of Corporate Social Responsibility.
“I’ve been personally involved in this humanitarian initiative in Masango for years” – says Daniela Fantini – and it seemed natural that the company should be involved. During my time in there I was captivated by the spirit of the people, who work the land with the same tools used thousands of years ago, moving huge rocks with just the strength of their arms. I really fell in love with the country.
In 2012 we launched the 100 Fontane Fantini For Africa project, a project whose underlying theme is water, so vital to us all but seen from a different point of view to our usual one: the dramatic absence of clean water and the tragic consequences this has on everyday life.”
The district’s impervious terrain and the conformation of the villages with houses scattered in the hills indeed makes access to water very difficult. Fetching water means walking for miles, takes hours and is a task assigned to the children of the villages.
“To guarantee a brighter future for this country, we believe the children have to have the time to go to school, and the freedom to play. This is why Fantini is promoting the contruction of wells, kilometres of aqueduct and water outlets to provide potable water at a maximum distance of ten minutes walk from the villages”
It is complicated project, full of challenges. The morphology of the terrain makes transporting materials very difficult, there are no infrastructures and identifying the places to make the connections is also complicated, due to the rains and frequent landslides.
This is why we assigned the works management and coordination of the local labour force to an expert builder, Maurizio Ondei, who speaks the native language Kurundi.
Thanks to this project, everyone, and especially the children, will be able to drink, wash, cook and above all be able to attend school. Another tangible benefit of the project will be the reduction of gastrointestinal ailments, thanks to better hygiene and the availability of uncontaminated water.
The original idea was to build one hundred water outlets. By the end of 2014 this target had already been achieved and surpassed thanks to everyone’s enthusiasm and participation, both in Italy and overseas, and thanks especially to the economic contribution of Fantini’s customers and agents obtained through the sales of the re-styled “Balocchi” collection, the attention the project has received in the press and the spontaneous donations of generous individuals.
Despite the significant logistical difficulties, the lack of infrastructures and the adverse meteoroligical conditions, in just two years we managed to construct:
- 12 wells to collect water from the rock;
- 27 kilometres of aqueduct;
- 100 water outlets;
- a further 30 water outlets at an advanced stage of completion, thanks to the additional funding received.
The water outlets are providing water to around 25,000 people. Each water outlet has been given a name, a number and assigned a manager from the Masango community responsible for looking after and maintaining it.
“Above and beyond the simple results” concludes Daniela Fantini “100 Fontane has been an extraordinary adventure on a human level for all of us. It opens up immense opportunities in the near future for consolidating and implementing all the positive effects. We are working on it!”
The project, the experience and the actuality of Masango are narrated in a film made by Catalonian director Nilo Mur Zimmerman.