The MIA-ALMA House

056In 2003 A.M.P.O. opened MIA, the first home for abandoned girls. The second home, ALMA was added in 2008. The idea behind the two homes has proved its worth over the years and in 2015 the opportunity arose for the two homes to move together to common premises with its own vegetable garden.

This home offers refuge to girls from very difficult backgrounds. Many have fled from forced marriages or the threat of female genital mutilation, some were prostitutes, some suffered unwanted pregnancies and were subsequently rejected by their families, some are being hunted by their former pimps. Many of them are marginalised because they are infected with AIDS.

MIA-ALMA is the only home in Ouagadougou offering these girls a way out of their situation. The home can accommodate up to 50 girls and their babies. There is a huge demand because meanwhile the word has spread among girls in such circumstances that help is available. Social services, local officials and other local responsible bodies refer girls to MIA-ALMA. During their 2 to 3 year stay at MIA-ALMA the girls learn to lead independent lives in keeping  with A.M.P.O. principles. Most of them attend school and all of them are trained in dress-making and domestic science. A.M.P.O. endeavours to equip the girls to face any of the angers that may have brought them to us in the first place. In cooperation with A.M.P.O. P.P.Filles Counselling Centre, the girls are also instructed in topics such as women’s rights, FGM, sexuality and AIDS prevention.

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While the girls are preparing themselves to determine their own future, their children who are often traumatised are looked after by the trained preschool teachers at MIA-ALMA. After a difficult start in life they find safety and stability here for the first time. Our aim is to re-integrate the girls into their families of origin. However, custom and tradition make this very difficult and we only succeed in a few cases.

Fortunately the girls develop a sense of solidarity when they are at A.M.P.O., they support each other and often get together after they leave to share accommodation or set up small workshops. On completion of their stay at A.M.P.O. each girl is given a bicycle and a little money as start-up capital.

Since it was founded MIA-ALMA has been directed with love and complete commitment by Souleymane Nana. He is a real street worker and vehemently protects his girls from unwanted interference from their past.

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