South Charlotte

Burundi president to visit Charlotte for fundraising effort

While Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza is in the U.S. to speak at a General Assembly session of the United Nations, he will also visit Charlotte.

The president and first lady Denise Bucumi Nkurunziza will hold an informational and fundraising dinner Sept. 25 and breakfast Sept. 26 at the Ballantyne Country Club.

At the two events, President Nkurunziza will talk to Charlotte business, civic and religious leaders about transformation, reconciliation and peace-building efforts in Burundi.

The events will also serve as fundraisers to help mitigate poverty and improve the plight of impoverished children in Burundi, said Manny Ohonme, founder of Samaritan's Feet. Nkurunziza will be in Charlotte at Ohonme's request.

Samaritan's Feet has an established relationship with Burundi. The nonprofit organization donates soccer shoes to the president's youth sports association, performs in-country foot washing and shoe distributions for adults and children in areas that suffer from foot-born illnesses, and supports the first lady's Buntu Foundation.

The foundation assists orphans, HIV/AIDS victims, the elderly and victims of Burundi's civil war.

Burundi is a landlocked country in the Great Lakes region of eastern Africa bordered by Rwanda to the north, Tanzania to the east and south and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west. It has an estimated population of more than 10 million. From 1993 into 2005, Burundi was devastated by civil war and genocide between the Hutu and Tutsi ethnic groups, which claimed between two and three hundred thousand lives.

A power-sharing constitution was promulgated and Nkurunziza was elected president in 2005.

President and first lady Nkurunziza will serve Charlotte residents the afternoon of Sept. 25 through a Samaritan's Feet foot washing and shoe distribution.

Along with volunteers from Elevation Church and One7, an urban youth ministry, they will provide approximately 300 shoes to children and adult refugees, from Vietnam, Burma, Nepal, Thailand and several African nations, who now live in east Charlotte.