Growing up during the political crisis in Burundi, Astere found support through football – both playing and coaching – which greatly helped him cope with the challenging circumstances. In 2015, as the conflicts in Burundi escalated, Astere fled to Rwanda. In the refugee camp, he soon began to actively coach once again.

My Story

“My Name is Astere, and I’m from Burundi. I grew up during the political crisis in the country. Despite the difficult times, my father did his best to educate me. My mother always told me that we can have a better tomorrow, even in such challenging circumstances. As a child, I loved playing football. It helped me a lot. Even though my parents didn’t like me to play football, I joined a football academy in Burundi. Eventually, I became a coach. Then in 2015, the political conflict got very difficult, so I fled to Rwanda.

After being in the refugee camp for six months, I became a sport facilitator because, as a child, sport and my coaches had helped me a lot. I like to say that sport is peace, sport is belonging, sport is powerful. The children here are facing the same difficult situations I experienced in my childhood. So, they need hope and resilience. For that purpose, we organise training sessions and tournaments in the refugee camp. During the activities, we also educate the children in various life skills.

Here in the refugee camp, the biggest challenge is poverty. The futures of many families are very uncertain, and numerous people are struggling due to the lack of knowledge. For me, the Young Coach Education has given us tools that we can use to transform our community positively and quickly. Personally, thanks to the Young Coach certificate, my experience, and my knowledge about child protection, I got a job to be a daycare manager here in the camp.

The children see us – the Young Coaches – as role models. The education has helped our entire community. We’ve noticed that the community increasingly recognises the importance of sport because they have been encouraging their children to join our activities. We’ve also seen instances of child abuse and social isolation decrease.

[During the Follow-up in 2023] it was very good to have a refresher about the Young Coach Education methodology. We have also learnt additional skills, including how to include children with disabilities in our activities. I loved how we worked with the international instructors, and also how we collaborated with Peer Young Coaches – learning from each other. We are persons of trust for the children, and they are the future coaches and leaders of tomorrow.”

Quick Facts
  • Young Coach Education in Rwanda (2017/2018), Follow-up Education (2023)
  • Save the Children
  • Burundian
  • 25 Peer Young Coaches
  • 43 Benefitting Children