GITEGA October 4th (ABP) – The Vice-President of the Republic of Burundi, Mr. Prosper Bazombanza, accompanied by the Minister of National Solidarity, Social Affairs, Human Rights and Gender, Mrs. Imelde Sabushimike, chaired Friday, October 1, in Gitega (central Burundi), the ceremonies of the International Day of the Elderly, 2021 edition, celebrated under the theme “Let us unite for healthy aging”.
Those ceremonies were opened with a mass which was celebrated at the Christ Roi Cathedral of Mushasha by the Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Gitega, Mgr Simon Ntamwana, in the presence of some public authorities and the elderly.
In his homily, Bishop Ntamwana preached love, solidarity and respect to the elderly in recognition of the good works performed while they were still active. He prayed to God that He would shower the elderly with His blessings so that they would feel the joy of this honor of their longevity.
In his speech, the Vice-President of the Republic called on young people and all the working population to reserve due respect for their parents and grandparents in recognition of the incredible efforts made to bring them up from childhood to the age of majority. He called on everyone to show solidarity with the elderly. He winked at people who have well-off living conditions, especially those in urban zones, but who abandon their parents to themselves. He called on them to break with these dishonorable behaviors to ensure them the support and assistance they need. Mr. Bazombanza reiterated the government’s commitment to continue social protection initiatives. He briefly outlined the initiatives already taken by the government to improve the living conditions of the elderly, including the establishment of the national social protection policy, the social protection support fund and the social protection code. He also indicated that a national commission is examining the preparation of the texts of application of the promise of the President of the Republic of Burundi made to retirees of the Public Service during his investiture relating to the increase in pension costs for amounts proportional to their last salaries and the establishment of the national day of local solidarity. The Vice-President of the Republic then proceeded to distribute aid to the elderly, consisting of food, loincloths, blankets and umbrellas.
A representative of the elderly who received these aids expressed his sincere thanks for these gestures of assistance. He also pleaded for the elderly who have not yet had medical assistance cards.
For his part, the Minister in charge of Social Affairs addressed his thanks to all those who make gestures of support and assistance to the elderly. Mrs. Sabushimike said her ministry will spare no effort to uphold the rights of older people.
Among the achievements to the credit of this ministry in favor of these vulnerable people, she mentioned in particular the signing of agreements with reception centers and associations for the care of the elderly who benefit from the assistance of the ministry for some services, and exemption from aid intended for the elderly. Efforts still need to be made to ensure the necessary needs of the elderly, she stressed, calling on everyone to make their contribution to meet the needs of the elderly.
In his turn, the Brother General of the Congregation of Bene Joseph, Brother Cyriaque Hakizimana, indicated that among their apostolates carried out in favor of the elderly is the formation of voluntary groups of assistance to the elderly in certain municipalities, such as Giheta, Gitega, Bugendana, Nyabihanga and Rutegama.
For his part, the WHO representative in Burundi spoke of the need for active solidarity in all sectors to support the elderly. He said the WHO has donated $ 30,000 worth of food for the elderly. He also signified that this organization is committed to supporting Burundi in its efforts of solidarity with the elderly.