Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - After years of ground work and person to person diplomacy the first orphans from Burundi will soon be on their way to their new home in America.
The Duluth woman who created the adoption program will travel to Central Africa with the adoptive family on June 9th.
Bettina Keppers is on a mission to help the orphans she's met in the Republic of Burundi; a country struggling to rebuild after a long and bloody civil war.
“They experienced a very similar situation as Rwanda back in 1994 when their president was killed when his plane fell down. So basically a war broke out. What was determined to be genocide in Rwanda was considered a civil war in Burundi,” said Keppers.
Keppers who works at Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota has spent four years establishing an inter–country adoption program with the Central African Nation,
She tells us there are an estimated 600 thousand orphans in Burundi.
“In general about 90 percent of orphan children can be cared for in their extended families, either by an aunt, uncle or grandparent or community member. 10 percent are often in orphanage type settings,” she added.
Nearly one in five children are orphaned in Burundi.
Children available for adoption may be as young 12 months though most of the children are over the age of four.
On June 9th, Keppers will travel with the first American family to adopt two children in Burundi.
She is hoping our viewers will help that mission be even more successful by donating items for the children left behind.
Here is her wish list.
• Glue sticks
• Coloring books
• Cotton blankets (cot size)
• Bottles (preferably Avent brand as they are the most durable, size 125 ml)
• Digital thermometers
• Sippy cups
• Bottle brushes
• “Bumbo” baby seat or similar
• Baby bouncers
• Wooden puzzles
• Kid friendly paints
• Play doh
• Craft items
• Play mats
• Bubbles and bubble blowers
Also, Keppers says they are in need of the following monetary donations:
• $25 will buy 100 pounds of rice for the children
• $25 will buy 100 pound of flour for the children
• $20 will buy enough biscuits to feed 100 children for 3 days
• $35 will cover the cost of milk for one month for an infant who has lost his/her mother
• Money to cover the cost of shipping these items
Donations aside the greatest need in Burundi is a loving parent willing to adopt of its orphans.
The cost of adopting a child in Burundi is one of the lowest in world.
Keppers says the process is completed in less than 12 months.
To learn more about adoption or to make a donation of money or supplies for the orphans of Burundi contact Bettina Keppers, at Lutheran Social Services in Duluth. She leaves on June 9th.
Call (218) 529-2289.