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Burundian refugee stitching together a brighter future in Rwanda

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Burundian refugee Sandrine, 18, learns how to tailor alongside her teacher at the women’s and girls centre at Mahama camp.in Rwanda. © UNHCR/Hannah Maule-ffinch

My name is Sandrine and I am 18 years old. I am a Burundian refugee. I came here to Mahama camp in Rwanda with my mother and my seven brothers and sisters.

We fled from Burundi in 2015. It was getting violent there, so we escaped to save our lives. During our journey, we were chased by rebels. We tried to run away, but they kept finding us. They stole everything we had. When we reached the border, we had nothing.

But at least now we are safe. And I am doing something for my future.

I come here to the women’s centre,* where I am learning how to sew. Now I know how to make shirts, dresses and shorts. But I’m still learning how to make more clothes. One of the reasons I come here is so I can learn a skill that will help me learn money one day. When I start earning money from the clothes I make, I can give it to my family so that I can support them.

I’m proud of myself because now I can sew.

If I go back to Burundi one day, I will be a tailor and support other women and girls, and teach them how to sew too.

* The women’s centre is supported by UNHCR