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Burundian Man Offers Bag of Maize to Ukrainians

“As a former refugee myself, I thought of offering some help. I am a peasant farmer, I don’t have much to give but I have a loving heart,” Adrien Nimpagaritse told the BBC.

A subsistence farmer in Burundi, who used to be a refugee, is donating 100kg (220lb) of his maize crop to those fleeing violence in Ukraine.

“As a former refugee myself, I thought of offering some help. I am a peasant farmer, I don’t have much to give but I have a loving heart,” Adrien Nimpagaritse told the BBC.

“Looking at the pictures, I saw women and children dying. I don’t have a voice to contribute in bringing solution to the conflict, but I can donate some of what I have cultivated as a token of love.”

Nimpagaritse was a four-year-old orphan when he fled to Tanzania during a wave of ethnic violence in 1996.

He grew up in the Mutenderi refugee camp, where he attended school, only returning home to Burundi 11 years later in 2007, aged about 15.

“I saw what being a refugee is like – we could hardly find anything to eat,” he said.

“If somebody, a neighbour, offered you just a cassava leaf and water you’d greatly appreciate it.”

Adrien Nimpagaritse at his farm. A former refugee, he is now back in Burundi, where he has married and has three children.

Nimpagaritse now lives in Ruyigi province in the east of Burundi, where he has married and has three children.

The 30-year-old urged someone from the UN refugee agency to come and collect his maize donation for Ukraine.

“I would also encourage anyone with such a heart to help likewise – it may assist around 20 families.

“Personally I can afford to offer 100kg of maize, it’s not enough, therefore, if someone else adds on more, it will help.”