Burundi Red Cross
”The person you want to be tomorrow, you build today”
Marlène Iradukunda is a Civil Engineering student and a social entrepreneur in the craft sector in Burundi. ”Very young I kept in mind: How can I be useful in my Community. In spite of all this reflection on the issue, I was not really aware of the Red Cross Movement at the time. It was not until later that I heard the story of our founder Henry Dunant and was touched by his personality and initiative.”
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Burundi Red Cross

Shortly after joining the Red Cross, Marlène was elected president of Red Cross volunteers in her district unit, Ngagara Q7. Although most of the other district leaders of the Ngagara zone are men, Marlène does not shy away from showing both ambition and motivation. She fulfils her mission and courageously maintains her duties as president.

”Life as a volunteer always requires effort, but what matters for me is having a convinced heart”

– Marlène Iradukunda, Burundi

”My unit only dreams of accomplishing its mission in the locality: alleviating the suffering of the most vulnerable. We do what we can with what we have, but I often receive reconnaissance calls from the people we helped. It fills my heart with joy hearing that my contribution gave life and strength to a person.

I encourage other young women to stand up, take the lead and achieve their life goals because who you want to be tomorrow: you build today. Don't underestimate yourself anymore. Being a young lady cannot be a barrier to anyone, we just have to live what burns inside of us, listen to advices from our elders and the road will become clearer.”

In the statutory meetings of the IFRC in Turkey (November 2017), the young volunteer leaders of the RCRC African Youth Network elected Marlène to represent women in the executive committee of this network.

”The executive team of the RCRC African Youth network committee offered me the opportunity to increase my contribution in the empowerment of African women. I took this chance to work with young female artists for the empowerment of Burundian Women and the diversification of the markets for our artisanal products. I really learned from the dynamism of this team of women. I never felt alone, the teamwork was the most awarding part of the whole experience, and it allowed me to accomplish my mission.”

”The power of humanity resides in the youth”

– Marlène Iradukunda, Burundi

As Marlène often says: ”The power of humanity resides in the youth, so let's take care of our actions and behaviour. Volunteering strengthens our interests and behaviours in favour of the community.” Through peer groups with other young RCRC volunteers in the world, she shares advice and directives in different aspects of life.

”I receive testimonies from many young people and especially young girls who thought they were not able to achieve their dreams but whom are now determined to make a change. The joy radiates in my heart when I hear this, because it really corresponds to the wishes that I have had since my first day as a volunteer at the Burundi Red Cross.”

Marlène Iradukunda is today the National Youth President to the Burundi Red Cross.

Marlène Iradukunda

Burundi, 2013

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Red Cross Red Crescent Magazine, January-April 1990

“The women of Castiglione nursed and soothed the wounded soldiers, ut when the Red Cross was born, no women were in attendance. Today women are still nursing the wounded... But are they in on the decision making?”

– IFRC Everyone Counts Report, 2019

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