"I am the first of nine children and the only one of my family to have become a priest," he says. "I fell in love with the charism, mission and work that the Salesians, following the spirit of Don Bosco, live and transmit to the young. I have always attended their oratory since childhood because they had a community right in my hometown, Ngozi, and that's where my vocation was born."
The political crisis of recent years has caused serious damage to the country; about 70% of Burundi residents live below the poverty line, and consequently social and economic tensions have increased.
For this reason, the Salesians have intensified their commitment to young people just as Don Bosco did. In the Rukago center, where Don Jean Paul is Director and Pastor, the oratory and parish are open every day, including Sundays. Sports, cultural and aggregation activities are organized for the many children who attend the center.
"235 is the number of students attending our vocational training center; 222 boys and 11 girls," says the Salesian. "At the Don Bosco Artisanal Center, there are courses in mechanics, carpentry, welding and construction from 8 am to 2 pm. In addition to studies, they also dedicate time to traditional activities, such as catechism and sports."
The locals are poor, but their faith is strong. "60,000 are the faithful who attend the parish and the oratory. They come from seven villages, in the vicinity of Rukago, the closest being 9 km away. For them, on Sunday, we celebrate at least 7 Eucharists."
Supported by the feelings of proximity from the local population, Fr Jean Paul and the other Salesians continue to strive for the good of the population, especially with the aim of increasing future employment opportunities for the young people of Burundi.