The Association of the Burundians Community of South Australia Inc. (ABCSA) is a non-profit organization incorporated in June 2005. The first few families settled in South Australia put ideas together to start the association. Today, the ABCSA Inc. has grown quickly and counts up to more than 1000 members.
Most Burundians came as refugees, and most of them were born out of the influx of Burundian refugees who may not have lived in urban Burundi and now they are living in urban Australia. This influx was accelerated by economic and political wars which have produced unprecedented numbers of political and economic refugees. Being physically uprooted is traumatic and resulted in multiple suffering, isolation,loss, shock and a sense of hopelessness and often suffered over an extended period of time. The Association of the Burundian Community of SA aims to implement projects and activities to become a centre which have resources for Burundian and other Africans who until today remain a conundrum in the Western world.
As mentioned above, Burundian refugees are the fastest growing immigrant population in Australia. Yet, local social service agencies lack the cultural knowledge and skills required to effectively address the immediate needs of this community. Whether they arrive on immigrant visas or as refugees; newly arrived Burundian face several challenges. On arrival to Australia, more needs include mental health and trauma counseling due to loss and family separation, new language and cultural skills, support with school and provision of culturally competent social service care, family reunification and immigration status adjustments assistance.
Based on Burundian experiences we find adolescent refugees and older youths are particularly affected by the process of inter generational communication. Consequently, young people require guidance and support to overcome obstacles to mediation within the family, school system, and adjustment to Australian culture. For many children, formal education was interrupted during flight and resettlement and many lack language and academic skills. They are inappropriately assigned within the school setting by age. Frustrations with teachers and with schoolmates are often reported especially with Burundian Australians with whom they are “categorized” but with whom they share little common culture.
The main objective of the association is to help Burundian members and other Africans who came mostly from refugee background to settle and integrate well in South Australian Community. The Burundians intended to develop and achieve their financial dependence as quickly as possible while maintaining their culture, values and unity.
Actually, 70% of Burundian people live in Northern councils of Adelaide City of Playford and Salisbury. Burundian community has about 60% female members while about 55% are less than 18 years of age. The main language spoken at home is Kirundi. However, few families speak Swahili and French and also other African dialects
The Burundian community has many different cultural groups dedicated to promote Burundian culture through dances such as Burundian drummers, Women cultural group dancers, Christian choirs, youth dancers (Agasimbo). The community also has a soccer team ‘Eagles” which helps to gather Burundians mainly youths and parents.