Dear friends and sponsors of our children in Ouagadougou,
I trust you are all well and in good spirits.
The summer holidays are over and just as with your families, schooldays are back to normal here too in the capital, Ouagadougou. The AMPO children have all returned safe and well, although somewhat slimmer than before because they spend the last 4 weeks of their 3-month holidays with their remaining families and there they often don’t have all that much to eat. My greatest concern is always that they fall ill and are left untreated because of lack of money or lack of interest. However, they are now all back safe and sound. Together with the new Director in the boys‘ orphanage they have great plans ahead: everyone wants to improve his school marks even more over the next six months. We’re eager to see how that works out, since we were already very pleased with the results last year.
It’s true though, all of us had a relaxing holiday. We had great fun at our summer camp, sleeping, playing and eating well. When I visited them near the border to Ghana I found a pack of wild, happy kids, living a carefree life.
Now it’s all over: after prayers and after dinner the tutors stand there with their boards ready to start extra tuition. These are former AMPO children who are now studying and they give up their time to help their younger brothers and sisters with algebra and physics. Many visitors from Europe are astounded at the curriculum. Burkina children know all about the French Revolution and tangents, but the know nothing about African capital cities or our social structures. It’s an absolute waste of energy and far removed from reality!
However, this year once again AMPO has put its hand deep into its pocket and has been able to pay school fees for many external children. Every August we sit down for a week with three teams of four members of staff and more than 1000 mothers armed with the latest school reports, birth certificates and tuition costs of their children. The registration procedure has been in preparation for months and each child is digitally recorded. We only pay the fees for good pupils because at the end of the day the object is to develop our country. The one thing that never ceases to amaze me is the lack of knowledge on the part of the parents. Most women cannot read or write and acknowledge receipt of the school fees with a fingerprint. Hardly any of them knows the name of the school their child attends, nor the amount of school fees and certainly nothing about the marking system. They are taken completely by surprise if their child has to repeat a year, because they are unable to read the intermediate reports. They don’t know the teachers and are afraid to go to the school to find out. In addition, the teacher probably doesn’t know the child in question, because in a class of 80 to 120 children he has more than enough to do. And so I am surprised again and again how some of these children manage to reach the top with an enormous amount of hard work, learning at night by the light of streetlamps, since there is no paraffin to light their homes…
These bright kids need support. They shouldn’t be forced to flee to Europe against their will, but stay to develop their own country where they can live happily. And this brings me to my many trips around Europe where I also spend time visiting schools. I tell about the situation here and many schools organise bazaars or sponsored runs, raising up to 10,000 Euros a year for their brothers and sisters in Africa. They do it with the greatest of pleasure, knowing that every lap they run pays the basic school fees for a child in Africa. They are doing something on their own initiative to provide active support and they do so from the heart. Our thanks go to these young people in Germany for their good deeds.
On the subject of costs, Sahel e.V. needs your help to pay the costs of the two orphanages. Our AMPO children always have enough to eat, but things are getting more expensive even here in Africa. This year we had heavy rainfalls, good for the farmers, but the floods washed away the huts of many older women, which we then rebuilt. Funds for such emergency projects are always welcome.
We would also rather have fewer “earmarked“ donations and more general contributions, so that we can use your money more specifically where it is most needed. As a guideline, the more good we can do together, the more money we need. You are and will remain the donors and we value your faithful support.
Our confidence is unflagging, even in the face of the violence around us in the world. But please do not be persuaded by the panic-mongers. Solidarity and optimism are what we need to start every bright new day. This is how we live in Africa and this is our wealth we wish to share with you.
With very best wishes and heartfelt thanks to you and your families from
Yours, Katrin Rohde
Eight boys and nine girls arrived at the orphanages in September
We held a farewell ceremony in July to say goodbye to 7 girls and boys from the orphanages. We were then able to admit 17 new children, 8 boys and 9 girls, who will spend the next few months acclimatizing to their new environment. Most of them are orphans or semi-orphans from particularly difficult social backgrounds. We are still looking for sponsors for these children and we’d be delighted if you too would support and accompany a child from our orphanages. If you would like to find out more, we will send you our guidelines for sponsors and a brief overview of the sponsorship programme.
Lamsa Bogni is the new Director of the boys’ orphanage
What should our friends know about you?
My name is Lamsa Bogni, I am 40 years old, married and have one child. I studied psychology and social sciences, specialising in particularly vulnerable population groups, such as youth, street children and the handicapped. I worked for various state-run institutions for 11 years, managing a centre for single mothers, working as a tutor in a home for children and young people at risk, and recently I was head of the Social Services Department for Street Children in Bobo Dioulasso (Burkina’s second largest city).
What do you like about working with children?
For me it is a calling to help those in difficulty, particularly children and young people, to find their way in life and build a better future for themselves.
What are your goals in your work with AMPO?
I want to apply my experience for the benefit of AMPO, especially for the tutors in the boys’ orphanage, so that together we can help as many children and young people as possible to pursue a successful career at school and in their chosen vocation. Another important aim of course is to nurture contact with the families of origin, to ensure that the children are aware of their roots. The highest goal however is to mould the children and young people into the citizens our society needs.
In the past 20 years we have cared for many children in the orphanages and accompanied them into adulthood. The progress of the children in the orphanages confirms the importance of these long-term projects. Safety, security and encouragement throughout childhood provide the foundation and the opportunity for an independent future based on self-determination, of that we are sure.
We would like to ensure the financing of the orphanages on a permanent, sustainable basis. The regular contributions from sponsors and the income from the foundation are reliable factors to cover part of the basic provisions and care for the children. On this note we would like to thank all the generous sponsors and the foundation for welfare and education.
Looking after nearly 120 children however requires a reliable staff – tutors, carers as well as cooks and night-watchmen. The costs of medical care for the children together with other factors such as water, electricity, school accessories, office supplies or repairs are also regular ongoing expenses.
Christmas will soon be upon us and we have included some items in our wish-list where your contributions would be put to good use. As you can see, every little helps to cover our daily, or even exceptional expenses for the benefit of the children.
So we’d like to dedicate this newsletter to our orphanages and use your support to care for the children. No amount is too small to ensure that the good is never lost.
Medical care for the children in the orphanages
Regular medical care including check-ups, vaccinations and treatment for acute illnesses costs:
Per child per year…………………………… 15 €
For all 120 children per month………. 150 €
For all 120 children per year……….. 1,700 €
Healthy nutrition in the orphanages
Food per child per month………………… 40 €
For all 120 children per day…………….. 150 €
For all 120 children per month…….. 4,800 €
Food is the traditional local cuisine, freshly prepared from regional products. For all of the children regular meals are a new experience. A typical Monday menu for instance would be breakfast porridge, rice for lunch and beans for dinner.
We have a total of 20 educational staff in the orphanages (tutors, carers, and after-school instructors). The care and development of the children would be inconceivable without them.
Monthly remuneration…………………. 195 €
Annual remuneration……………….. 2,300 €
Remuneration is based on the average cost for one staff member.
Growing up together, being there for each other and dreaming together of the future – these are the themes of this year’s AMPO Calendar. It is not only the AMPO children who are strong together. The Project Leaders, the Board of the Sahel e.V. Association, schoolchildren in Germany, Katrin Rohde and all the other partner associations in Europe, adults and children everywhere who give their time and energy … all of us are linked by one common goal, to provide healthy development and prospects for the future of children and young people in Burkina Faso.
Calendars for distribution
Seize the opportunity! You can also order calendars as gifts for distribution to spread the good work. Profits from calendar sales go straight to the institutions.
Give and do good.