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Former Burundian refugee donates his maize crop to Ukrainians fleeing eastern Europe, urges UN to collect his donation

A former refugee who now lives in Burundi and is now a subsistence farmer, is donating 100kg of his maize crop to those fleeing violence in Ukraine, international media reported on Thursday. Photo: Reuters.

A former refugee who now lives in Burundi and is now a subsistence farmer, is donating 100kg of his maize crop to those fleeing violence in Ukraine, international media reported on Thursday. Photo: Reuters.

Published Mar 17, 2022

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Cape Town - A former refugee who now lives in Burundi and is now a subsistence farmer, is donating 100kg of his maize crop to those fleeing violence in Ukraine, international media reported on Thursday.

Adrien Nimpagaritse grew up and went to school in a refugee camp in Tanzania.

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He was a 4-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, writes BBC Africa.

Speaking to BBC Africa, Nimpagaritse said as a former refugee himself, he thought of offering some help.

“I am a peasant farmer, I don’t have much to give but I have a loving heart,” Nimpagaritse told the BBC.

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

The 30-year-old farmer has urged the UN refugee agency to come and collect his maize donation.

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A week ago, the UN Refugee Agency decided that the European Union (EU) will offer temporary protection to refugees fleeing Ukraine and will provide immediate protection in the EU for Ukrainians and third country nationals with refugee or permanent residence status in Ukraine.

The decision also means that EU member states may offer temporary protection to third country nationals with legal residence in Ukraine who are unable to return home, and to stateless people.

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