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AMPO – how it all began

In 1987 Katrin Rohde, the project leader, came into contact with a Burkinabé group in her home town Plön in northern Germany and through them she made her first trip to Burkina Faso. Travelling across the country on her own, she became seriously ill. A customs officer took her into his family and they nursed her back to health. To express her thanks she promised to collect money in Germany to build a school.

1995 before AMPO was built

1995 before AMPO was built

Having collected the money, she travelled to Burkina Faso a second time to organise and supervise the building of the school. On one hand she was fascinated by the the country and its people; on the other hand she was shocked by the prevailing poverty, the victims of which are mainly children and young people. She returned to Germany, encouraged by the success of the school building project, and continued working to raise money by giving lectures to collect funds for future projects.

Early in 1995 she sold her property and her bookshop in Germany to provide capital to set up her own project. Upon arrival in Ouagadougou she rented a small, typically African house. Her main focus was on street children for whom she planned to set up a home. She drove around town in the Ford Transit she had brought from Germany, looking for where the kids were likely to hang out and thus slowly gain their trust. She provided them with medicine and one hot meal per week. Gradually she tried to find homes for some of the young people in families in exchange for financial support.

Voilà, it's not much, but it's home!

Voilà, it's not much, but it's home!

There were frequent conflict situations with the families, hardly satisfactory for either party, and so Katrin finally took the street kids into her own house. There they lived for almost 2 years. Ultimately there were 18 children and young people living together in 3 rooms.

Meanwhile she was also busy trying to obtain permission from the government ministries to build an orphanage and in Germany an application was filed to register this project as a registered charity and to obtain a grant from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation. The building was completed early 1996 and Katrin Rohde was able to move in with „her“ children. The home was officially opened on 29th March 1996. In addition to the 29 children and young people resident there, there are jobs for 12 local people.

The boys’ orphanage was the first in a long series of successful projects. Click on Projects to find out more about all the AMPO projects.

You can read Katrin Rohde’s reports about ongoing AMPO projects in the Newsletter.