“We are not just building a clinic, We are building peace.”

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village-health-worksWhere there’s health, there’s hope

Village Health Works is a a Burundi-based 501c3 organization founded on the humane principle that all people, including those most impoverished, deserve access to quality healthcare in a dignified environment. Founded in 2007, Village Health Works seeks to be a center of excellence and the premiere teaching organization for community-­driven global health and development groups in Africa and beyond. Their mission is to provide quality, compassionate healthcare in a dignified environment while treating the social determinants of illness, disease, violence, and neglect in collaboration with those they serve.

In Burundi, the staff is 99% Burundian, including 101 community health workers. Burundi is located in east central Africa and shares borders with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, and Tanzania. It is home to more than nine million people.

WATCH this video and learn more about their incredible work:

Village Health Works was founded by Deogratias Niyizonkiza. After surviving a massacre at the Burundian hospital where he was a third-year medical school intern, Niyizonkiza fled to New York where he arrived in 1994, penniless and without one word of English. Despite the hurdles — low-paying work as a grocery store delivery boy, illness and homelessness — with help from new friends he eventually enrolled in Columbia University where he studied biochemistry and philosophy. After graduating from Columbia, Niyizonkiza entered Harvard University’s School of Public Health, where he met and worked with Dr. Paul Farmer, co-founder of Partners In Health (PIH). Niyizonkiza later took a hiatus from Dartmouth Medical School to found Village Health Works.

“We are not just building a clinic,” Niyizonkiza says. “We are building peace.”

Deogratias Niyizonkiza will be one of many speakers at Wheelock College’s International Conference. Follow the link for more information about how you can attend the conference.