Location: Nduta Refugee Camp, Tanzania
Jean-Marie was born a refugee in the Mutabilia refugee camp in Tanzania. During the time that Jean-Marie’s family was in Tanzania, all of the belongings, land and property his family had previously owned has been taken by other family members who stayed in Burundi. Eventually, Jean-Marie and his family were forced to return to Burundi in 2012 by the Tanzanian government, however, when they arrived they had nothing. When they asked the extended family for their property back, it created inter-family conflict. In 2015, one of Jean-Marie’s extended family members was working as a soldier for the Burundian government and threatened Jean-Marie and to not push for their property back and instructed them to leave, otherwise, he would take violent action against them. When Jean-Marie decided to flee back to Tanzania he was in Form 7 of secondary school. After arriving in Nduta, he enrolled in Form 8, however, was not able to complete due to difficult living circumstances.
Jean-Marie loved playing football since childhood. Growing up, he realized that he wanted to share his football skills with children to help them grow up into good football players. Jean-Marie learned how to play football in the refugee camp he grew up in and feels it was a life-line for him. He aspires to be like the coaches he had when he was a child and to be an even better coach if possible.
Jean-Marie would like to eventually finish secondary school and continue on to university to study sports medicine, but his ultimate dream is to continue coaching and eventually become a professional soccer coach. He would like the world to know how much he enjoys being a RUSA coach and wants the international community to pay more attention to the Burundian refugee situation. Jean-Marie feels it’s important for continued support for the RUSA program in Tanzania so that he and the other RUSA coaches can continue to help and empower children to work together as a team and support each other.