Newsletter March 2017

Dear friends of our orphans in Ouagadougou,

We’re back to our daily routine here in the far south, as no doubt you and your families are too.

The festive season is long since over and this time the Christmas celebrations went off very well here in Africa, although I was not around. For the first time in 25 years I celebrated Christmas in Germany with my grandchildren – wonderful! On the evening of the 24th of December my telephone rang and at the other end of the line were all of the children from the orphanages, ceremoniously singing “Oh Tannenbaum” for me in German as they do every year. With the loudspeaker and microphone switched on I was able to join in from Berlin, with tears running down my face. Why can’t I be in two places at once?

All the parcels sent from Germany to the children with sponsors arrived safely, much to everyone’s delight. I’m sure the sponsors have all received their thankyou letters, duly translated and with the latest photo of the sponsored child.
Now we have settled back into our strict daily routine – as I’m sure you have too – punctuated by a few nice experiences and amusing events. Every morning my husband drives me to work at AMPO around 6:30. On the way we usually meet about 100 AMPO children with satchels and safety vests, caps and anoraks, faces freshly creamed to ward off the dust. They stand out among the other schoolkids simply because they are all coming out of one house, their tutors there to make sure that they are ready to go. I am so proud of our tutors.

Our three smallest girls recently took me aside and whispered timidly in my ear: “Can’t you take us to school?” “Sadly, no“, I replied. “It’s not all that far, but you know that I have a bad leg.” The impish response was: “We were thinking we could go by car …” Two days later the opportunity arose. We packed them in and drove them to the shabby, dusty, dilapidated state primary school. No one ever drives their kids there, they all come on foot. Now there we were – three beaming, giggling girls stepped out of my husband’s smart, shiny, bright yellow car at the school gate and they are still the talk of the entire school.

Meanwhile the Directors are busy planning the future of this year’s leavers. We would like to include you in this process and ask you to help, because the former AMPO children, now young adults, will continue to receive AMPO support for at least another two years, depending on their training, and we have never had so many young leavers as we will have this July.

Starting in autumn we therefore need a considerable amount of money for their training. Today we have calculated that the average annual cost per person is around €1,200, depending on what they want to do. There are 47 trainees and they may want to become a nurse, primary teacher, assistant pharmacist, secondary teacher. Or they may wish to attend fashion school or train to be a cook. Do you think you could help us? It amounts to €100 a month. Training varies from one to three years and the amount would cover student and university fees, apprenticeship premiums, food, accommodation, hygiene, medical treatment, notepads, books, etc.

Who can help us? If €100 per month is too much for an individual person, it might be possible to link up with friends or find others to join in. This request is also addressed to legal chambers, doctors’ surgeries or partnerships who might find it easier to raise such a sum. Our AMPO children simply deserve a positive future. They all arrived at AMPO hungry, afraid and often traumatised by their previous fate. And they all learn, are eager to develop to make something of their lives, look after their younger siblings and if possible do some good themselves, something that every AMPO child wants and something we try to show them every day by example. So please help us to put them on the right path by simply calling our office in Plön and you will be doing a good deed.

We were able to do another good deed here too. There is a very good German institution known as TuaRes caring for 1000 schoolgirls here in Burkina Faso. One of them, a sixteen-year-old girl in an advanced stage of pregnancy sought help from the social services, but they had nowhere for her to stay. Having fallen out with her family and with no means of support, Larissa was contemplating suicide. Just in time, one day before she gave birth, I was able to rescue her. At every pothole in the road I was thinking “This is it!” We brought her to the MIA/ALMA House where she was welcomed by positive-thinking tutors and 48 other girls, young mothers in a similar situation. The baby was born – a girl (of course!) – with the lovely name of Judith. Mother and baby are doing well. Larissa is able to smile again and she does now that she is in a safe environment.

We were delighted to receive a visit from Switzerland by our partners and sponsors from Zurich. The Dear Foundation has been funding our large clinic for many years. They are true professionals, working all over the globe in Israel, Gaza, Columbia and India and of course with us. We were able to learn a great deal from them and they too from us. One of the surgeons with the party wrote a comprehensive travel report which is well worth reading and can be found on our AMPO website. Together with the Foundation we are in the process of setting up a new project to fight breast cancer.

On another note, a huge amount of work has gone into restarting our agricultural college project. You will find details of this in a separate report by the project coordinator, Andrea Reikat, who has done a great job, particularly in view of the stringent requirements for applications to the Luxemburg Foreign Ministry, which she dealt with like an expert. I’m more practically inclined, having more to do with repairing, clearing, pruning trees, painting, so that everything was ready in time for the arrival of our new students. We are happy and relieved as are our friends from the Luxemburg Dr. Elvire Engel Foundation, who attended the opening ceremony.
We are never short of visitors at AMPO: trainees, helpers, friends can be put up in our simple guest quarters and are more than satisfied with the great food in our restaurant next door. The clinic is on the other side of the guestrooms, if anyone should need immediate care – it doesn’t get better than that! Two board members of the Sahel Association also spent about a week at AMPO visiting various facilities.
You too are always welcome. At the moment we have a visiting sponsor who came to see her AMPO child and she lends a helping hand wherever she can – a win-win situation for all concerned.

I wish all of you a wonderful springtime, gratitude in your heart for each day we are given, time for a little fun and a smile or a laugh out loud. Do as we do in Africa – if all else fails, laughing helps!

Katrin Rohde and all the AMPO children in Ouagadougou

Life again at last on Tondtenga

Andrea Reikat

Andrea Reikat

Things were very quiet for six months on Tondtenga, AMPO´s Agricultural College. There was a six-month gap between the departure of the last trainee students and the new intake. One of the reasons for this was that the application procedures with the Foreign Ministry of Luxemburg through the Dr. Elvire Engel Foundation, our donors, had become more complicated. Added to that, after 10 years and 5 training courses we took time to set up a new team and breathe some fresh air into Tondtenga.

Our targets however have remained unchanged: young men from the country are trained in biological, intergrated farming methods, so that they can return to their villages and earn a living without recourse to environmentally damaging methods that may endanger health and that are on the increase in Burkina Faso.

The new team consists of acknowledged agricultural experts, led by Antoine Konombo, the Director, who has had almost thirty years‘ experience managing many agricultural projects. He is in charge of 4 technical trainers and 3 tutors, all of whom were trained in good agricultural colleges. The difference between the trainers and the tutors is essentially that the former have more professional experience than the latter.

This time we have selected the 50 trainees from one province. This simplifies the training and will also facilitate subsequent follow-up, when they return to the villages on completion of their training to set up cooperatives.

We also have a new member of staff to support these cooperatives, Olivier Bado, who previously worked as a consultant to cooperatives in various parts of Burkina.
Led by this new team, the students at TT will spend the next one and a half years learning not only about biological farming and animal husbandry, but also studying in greater depth subjects such as “Living in a cooperative“, “Marketing my products“, “Rehabilitation of overexploited soil”, “Producing animal feed, biological manure and biological insecticides”.

The new trainees arrived on the 5th and 6th of January and were welcomed by Katrin, Andrea and the AMPO Directors on the 7th of January. On the 31st of January the official opening ceremony took place attended by a large delegation from the Dr. Elvire Engel Foundation and coordinators of the Luxemburg and German Development Cooperation in Burkina. Now that the festivities are over we have resumed our daily routine, which means laying out fields and beds, vaccinating and feeding animals, milking cows and goats and making Tondtenga once more the green oasis it has been for many years.

Dear friends and supporters,

we are sure you are just as happy with the beginning of spring as we are, and with all the colour it brings. The past year was also bright and eventful and together with you we succeeded in financing the diverse AMPO projects and securing their continuation. Each institution makes its own particular contribution, thus supporting specific target groups: a home for orphaned children, training for young adults, essential nutrition for undernourished babies, assistance for underage mothers and mobility for the physically handicapped – each success, large or small, is made possible by your continuing support.

Two members of the Sahel Association staff were able to gain their own impressions on a visit to AMPO. In November 2016 they set off for the warmth of Ouagadougou, returning 8 days later full of memories of happy encounters, touching images and laden with new products from Burkina. A brief impression is given in the short extract from the travel diary attached to this newsletter. The detailed report is available on our homepage.

“It is good to see how the AMPO institutions engage with each other, how each institution knows what the other is doing and can do in a particular case, how we don’t only think of today, handing out a bowl of rice to a hungry family, but we also keep an eye on tomorrow and the day after.“ (Ricarda Walzel)

The travel report appears on our homepage
„Wir sind dann mal bei AMPO – Reisetagebuch“

We have prepared and sent out your contribution receipts for 2016 over the past few weeks. If you have not yet received them please inform the office.

Newsletter November 2016

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!

Back from the holidays with a bag full of memories

Back from the holidays with a bag full of memories

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…

School fee allocation: Katrin Rohde talking to parents hoping for school fees for their children

School fee allocation: Katrin Rohde talking to parents hoping for school fees for their children

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, the new Director brings a breath of fresh air to the boys’ orphanage

Lamsa Bogni, the new Director brings a breath of fresh air to the boys’ orphanage

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.

Sahel e.V.

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.

Educational staff

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.

ampokalender2016-titel-sprialbindungThe new 2017 AMPO Calendar

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.

Giving made easy
We will send your calendars gift-wrapped direct to your addressees. You can place your orders by phone, email or through our shop.

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.

Newsletter August 2016

All of us hope that you and your families are having a wonderful summer.

I am writing this newsletter amid the bustle of holiday time at the orphanages where the happy children are a source of joy every day. When I arrive at 7 o’clock in the morning I am met by 20 boys, we hug and start to make plans for the day. The peal of children’s laughter in our ears throughout the day is consolation to the Directors who are still busy doing the more boring tasks of writing reports and meticulously checking the budgets to keep our bookkeepers happy. These jobs have to be done so we can continue to show our donors in Europe that we are working by the book.

That reminds me: various friends keep telling me that I am much too reticent in asking for support. I should start every newsletter saying: Help! Our children need this (like we desperately need a new car), our clinic needs that (money for vaccination campaigns), our counselling centre for women needs something else. It’s all about money. But that is not my style. I always assume you are all aware how much it costs to maintain all our facilities and I am sure you are all doing your best. Maybe you could ask your friends if they would like to join us on the voyage of the good ship AMPO bringing help to thousands of people very year in many different ways. Perhaps it will bring them as much pleasure as you to provide support for a place where the world is still intact. Many people are looking for such a place where their donations are well invested. You know the place – AMPO offering assistance of many kinds to children, women, the needy and the elderly.


Back in our everyday lives, without having to worry about school, we romp through the weeks dancing, drumming, taking part in various workshops and going on trips. We paint, do jigsaws for hours on end, some of the older ones work in the fields on our farm and of course swimming is scheduled once a week. And we have a circus! Twice a week under expert supervision we learn to juggle and turn cartwheels. The last thing I need now is for the children to take up fire-eating – that’s how keen they all are! Our thanks for this carefree time once a year are due to our friends who provide the financial support, for all too soon our lives will be governed once more by the rigorous schedule of school.
All of the children deserve the break because this year once again the school results were very good. Children who came to us only a year ago from sad backgrounds are caught up in the group dynamics, see how we support each other and enjoy a life of safety and protection at AMPO and suddenly they become top of the class at school. This I find particularly gratifying because it shows how important and healing it is to have the calm, loving home we can offer them.

We still have the highlight of our holidays ahead of us. This year we’re off to summer camp in Po close to the border with Ghana. It is thanks to you and your donations to Sahel e.V. and the Berlin Association that we can enjoy this special gift. There is so much to see there. We will visit the historic sites of the old slave market and the picturesque hut villages. This is being financed by Berolina in Berlin and it is quite an expensive undertaking to transport about 150 people by bus. For 2 weeks we’ll do nothing but sleep, sing, fish, dance, learn to ride a bike or a moped, or how to cook beans … We are all really looking forward to it. We just have to organise transport in 3 busses, including cooks with cooking utensils, all the tutors and of course a nurse. This means days of frantic planning and writing packing lists. Thank goodness our staff have nerves of steel.
The entire MIA-ALMA group is coming too, all the girls, young mothers with their babies and infants. This is one facility I’m very proud of, because it is managed by a very special man, Nana Souleymane, fondly referred to by everyone as “Tonton Chouchou” (Uncle Darling). Up to 50 girls and their children are devoted to him, a real grass-roots street worker. And in his “spare time” he is studying hard for his diploma as a specialist educator. His girls have had a 2-week introductory workshop on yoga. This is something we’d like to continue owing to the benefit it brings, given the difficult and often desperate background of the girls.

 RedCHAIRityAnd now for another item of news from AMPO. Thanks to the “RedCHAIRity” foundation in Southern Germany we are starting a new one-year pilot project to build our own wheelchairs for the handicapped. We already have premises that were unused and which have now been remodelled within a mere 14 days. The project is known as “Tond Nao” (our legs), or metaphorically speaking, “that which carries us”. And the thing that carries us is of course love. The opening was at the end of June, attended by the Burkina national Paralympic team on their crazy racing bikes. What an honour! The Director of the handicapped projects is often on the road and knows many groups for the disabled, who then joined together in gratitude and solidarity. At the time of the opening ceremony of Tond Nao at 8.30 a.m. disabled people in 50 villages throughout Burkina Faso joined together in prayer for AMPO, irrespective of their religious affiliation, to ask for a blessing for us, our progress and the success of the workshop. I am deeply moved and I’m sure you are too by this gesture so typical of this poor country. Love indeed is that which carries us.
We are now going to design new wheelchairs as something different. Many of them will be tailor-made for children. So please donate! For every wheelchair given by AMPO we also provide school fees. Give the handicapped children in this country a chance!

With all our success it is sometimes easy to forget that we are still in Africa, with all due respect. Only yesterday we discovered a very poisonous snake 1.5 metres long in the car of our Director of Administration right here in our AMPO car park in the middle of town. The same day one of our boys was stung by a scorpion in the field – not lethal but very painful. And we are still suffering from constant power cuts lasting hours on end, in some neighbourhoods lasting for days, resulting in the loss of internet connection (just when an urgent report has to be sent). For days our cellphones have little or no reception – that’s life in Africa!

Andrea Reikat, my intrepid co-worker, has been with AMPO for just over a year and is slowly getting used to our working methods, some of which are rather unusual. It is not always easy with a well-established team making every decision concerning AMPO themselves and refusing to rise from the table until consensus is reached (you may recall my principle of Africa for the Africans?). The discussions at Directors’ Meetings are often loud, sometimes it’s like a kindergarten where we have to let off steam. For an outsider it may appear a bit unruly, but it is important because there are often emergencies or direct and close contact to people in dire need and we are all very sensitive and have to rely on each other. In Europe people who bear such responsibility are often supported by psychologists, the AMPO Directors are not. It is astounding how many lives we can affect and how often we come up with good solutions and achieve major success with very little means. Yet the opposite is also true and that is something that saddens our hearts. We are often alone, confronted with people with unsurmountable problems, illness and death.
We battle on – with you by our side, thank God. Please accept our thanks for your good deeds, your donations and your kind thoughts.

Katrin Rohde in Ouagadougou

Tears of sorrow and tears of joy …. the passing out ceremony at AMPO on 9th July 2016

k800_sam_1257-1On Saturday 9th July we said goodbye to 42 youngsters participating in our various programmes: 7 girls and 7 boys from the orphanages, 10 girls from MIA-ALMA and 18 young adults who completed their training.
This time we celebrated en famille – not quite if you count the jugglers and artistes among us, jugglers and artistes who spent the past few weeks with the kids from the orphanages and the girls from MIA-ALMA making giant puppets and practising juggling and acrobatics.

There were a few tears, especially when one of our graduates from the training programme called on her young “sisters and brothers” to work hard to live up to AMPO’s reputation in the outside world. But we also laughed and danced … and marvelled.
And – as we say in an African family: “Let’s stick together.”. AMPO continues to be there for the “older ones”, for those who are still supported by our training programme, whether at school or during apprenticeship, and for those who have completed their training and are setting out on a career.

They will make their way as teachers, bookkeepers, nurses, dressmakers, hairdressers, logistics specialists – or pursuing many other careers of their choice. AMPO is very proud of them and we are also a little bit proud of ourselves.
We rely on your support to enable us to continue to accompany these young people and give them an opportunity for vocational training.

Sahel e.V.

A few weeks ago we wrote asking for donations for wheelchairs. Many of you responded with donations small and large to support us in providing even more disabled people with a tricycle. We are now able to do so and this year the additional wheelchairs will be manufactured and distributed. Our thanks go to all the donors.
In May the DZI, German Central Institute for Social Issues, invited us to their annual donation seal of approval forum. We took the opportunity once again to find out about the latest developments in charitable activities and current regulations concerning DZI Guidelines. The emphasis of the meeting was on the further development of the DZI accounting proposal for advertising and administrative expenditure. These costs are often seen in a negative light, yet a charity organisation cannot function successfully without administration or advertising:

  • Advertising and administrative expenses are in principle necessary and useful expenditure. They result in donations. They organise the use of funds. They enable accountability.
  • Not only excessive administration, but also an administration that is too narrowly defined is problematic. The determining factor is the objective appropriateness of the administration.
  • Organisations receiving donations should not encourage the illusion that they manage without advertising and administration. Irrespective of its financing, each charity organisation solicits donations. Each organisation must administer resources.
  • The amount of advertising and administration expenditure is one of several assessment criteria. Moreover, in particular the efficacy of the work of an organisation is significant (usefulness, effectivity and sustainability of project expenditure).

(Source: DZI Administration concept:

The DZI assesses charity organisations on their ratio of advertising and administrative costs to their overall annual expenditure. A proportion of 10 – 30% is acceptable. Sahel e.V. is subject to an annual audit by the DZI and scores very well with its proportion of advertising and administrative costs of 16%.

For further information regarding the effectiveness of our operation please consult the annual reports of each AMPO facility and project available to read or download from our website.

“Mama Tenga” book review by danish friends

Reviewed by Anja and Jeppe Lau Roelsgaard from danmark, who have visited Burkina Faso and, among others, Katrin Rohde in connection with the adoption of the son Laust Brice:

Katrin kidsIn connection with our adoption process, we became aware of the book Mama Tenga by Katrin Rohde describing the start-up of the AMPO project and its background. We have read the book in order to come to understand the social conditions in Burkina Faso and get to know the DNA and soul of the country. Together with the information that was given to us by the writer Thyge Christensen and Jørgen Olsen (GtU), the book prepared us for the encounter with the country and its population, and not least our son and his foster family. In this connection, we also ought to mention the then country councillor for Burkina Faso within the former AC Children Aid, now Danish International Adoption, Jette Würtz. She managed to convey the country and its population in an excellent manner.

The book Mama Tenga is a marvellously well-written and well-organised book which, at the same time, describes a fantastic country, a fantastic people, a fantastic person and, not least, a fantastic project still in progress. More about this later. The book allows us join Katrin Rohde on her journey from the hard-working business owner in Northern Germany to the no less hard-working Mama Tenga in Burkina Faso. It describes her thoughts and actions during the journey, which is long (both in terms of distance and mentally), and through which God guided her (her own words).

The first part of the book describes the exact experiences and thoughts that lead Katrin Rohde to become Mama Tenga. The remaining part of the book is about the foundation of the project and, not least, the development within the domains that strikes you   the most within the bureaucratic system, that is the Ministries and the public administration, where seeing to a case is not a metaphor, but one man’s job. Once approvals, permissions and the financing is in place, the hard work of projecting and performing the construction work begins. Here as well, there are pitfalls, where Western kindness towards the poor artisans may end up in lack of respect and a careless, expensive and slowly advancing piece of work. Furthermore, she describes the issues concerning the pedagogical work with the children who have lead a difficult life at the street, and who may already have become familiar with psychedelic drugs or other substance abuse, criminality, prostitution etc. before joining AMPO. With these children, the quick rush and its short-termed joy may still be a temptation hard to resist.

In the book, she also describes the children’s everyday life and celebrations…a soft drink to share may be cause for celebration…and we have a lot to learn from this. Moreover, when reading the book, you notice how the people of Burkina Faso live peacefully side-by-side, despite of many different religions. The world has a lesson to learn from this. During our journey, we were told about families in which some of the family members were Muslims and some were Christians.

On our way to Burkina Faso to pick up our son, we coincidentally ran into Katrin Rohde at the local pizzeria together with our contact person. We were invited to visit AMPO and Katrin Rohde. During this visit, we were given a tour in the boys’ section and were told about the everyday life of the children and the young people living at AMPO.

Besides the boys’ section, there is an equivalent girls’ section as well as a home for pregnant girls in need of a place to give birth to the child, and subsequently receive support and guidance in order to become able to fend for themselves prospectively. The children can live at AMPO until they turn 18. At this age, they leave the boys’ or girls’ home. However, they still keep contact until they are able to take care of themselves. We saw a project which, after 20 years, is still in progress with many new things coming up, i.e. a place to eat for westerners and shops, where the newly qualified artisans, previously living at AMPO, could sell their products. In particular, we noticed the well-arranged buildings that had been constructed with a view to protect against the sun and the huge amounts of rain during the rainy season. For example, they were built with overhangs. The buildings were spacious and the decoration was practical.

mamatenga-ebook-enDuring this visit, we met a fantastic woman who saw the good and the amazing in each child – no one is better than the other – and a fantastic staff. Furthermore, we had the pleasure of meeting a young German couple, who worked as volunteers at AMPO. Later in their life, they would adopt a child from Burkina Faso themselves. We left AMPO with an amazingly good feeling. If only there were more like passionate souls as Katrin Rohde…

E-Book: Mama Tenga – My African Life

Contains a picture gallery which shows everyday life at AMPO and the African country Burkina Faso.
format: ePub und mobipocket
ISBN: 978-3-89567-031-2 (ePub) und 978-3-89567-032-9 (mobipocket)
Price: EUR 4,99 / USD 5,99
Publisher: Nieswand Verlag
Published: december 2012

Download a reading sample:
Mama Tenga – chapter 6: Ouagadougou, one way (PDF: 0,6 MB)

E-Book available at:

AmazonAppleBarnes & Noble

 In 2010, a Danish AMPO Friend Association has been established: AMPO Danmark ⇑


Newsletter March 2016

kr-2016Dear friends of our orphans in Ouagadougou,

Here at last is another long, detailed letter from the dusty capital of Burkina Faso.
You are probably fighting off coughs and colds at the moment, because I’ve been hearing that the warm winter has given a boost to those types of illness, so I hope your resistance is high and that you are taking plenty of herbal tea.

We are coughing as well, but that has more to do with the dusty winds blowing in from the Sahara, which unfortunately are responsible for the spread of serious meningitis. All of the AMPO children have been vaccinated in our clinic, including our 150 members of staff and their children too. That makes a total of 650 vaccinations, some of which cost about USD10. You can well imagine how many people die in this poor country simply because there is no money for vaccine. So we also vaccinate people in the neighbourhood, but every year there are many deaths when meningitis spreads to epidemic proportions.

img-20160223-wa0000My past few months with the children were wonderful. When I arrived I was immersed in a wave of love. Sponsors often ask how I cope. And I reply: so much love from the children cures any illness. I immediately started to feel better. Never before have I had so much time for the children – we made things, we cooked, we baked Christmas biscuits, made music, learned German Christmas carols and visited the various AMPO institutions together. 

There is so much going on. At the MIA/ALMA project we built a new kitchen, set up a new kindergarden for 25 children and we are currently working on a small house to accommodate trainees. 
This was partly financed by our association in Switzerland, the Roth District, our Danish association and the Katrin Rohde Foundation in Germany (which also welcomes contributions and is the right address to contact in matters concerning the sustainability of AMPO). The overall project is being financed by our association in Berlin. We have just had a visit from 3 of their members who were delighted at the progress the girls are making.

Our Agricultural College Tondtenga and its donors in Luxemburg are struggling with the new applications to the relevant ministry. The plan is to provide the newly established farms throughout the country with more start-up capital to lighten the burden on the young eco-farmers. 
The P.P.Filles Counselling Centre was pleased to move into larger premises where they have more room for their ongoing work with groups of women.
Our older boys are also happy, especially those who are now able to study or move on to higher education. Officially they have now left AMPO, but I was able to set up a small boarding house for them in the former MIA premises. They now live there and have the necessary peace and quiet to study.They cook their beans every day (the only dish a young man can cook here), which is why this project is known as Bega Zaka, the bean house. We are currently trying to set up a similar small house for girls as well.


A difficult challenge, albeit a success, is our brand new restaurant. This is the only project run on a profit-making basis. It is not subsidised. It has now grown in size and popularity, catering for 1000 guests in the second month. The guests come back again because the food is excellent. All of our restaurant staff have a hygiene certificate, our salads are washed in potassium permanganate and in any case most of the vegetables are purely organic, sourced from our own farm.
All of the serving staff are former AMPO children. They are still struggling with the learning curve, but they learn something new every day. We wouldn’t have managed without the help of our two specialists from the island of Amrum in Germany, spending days sorting out table linen, buying new glassware and everything a kitchen needs to operate, all with the benefit of years of experience in the hotel trade.

One great source of joy for me was Abdoulaye Kaboré, a former AMPO orphan. He has been living in Germany for many years and is now employed as a chef in a large restaurant in Kiel. He was just visiting his family in Africa (AMPO and his very elderly grandfather) and took time to organise a cooking seminar at AMPO, thanks to his German trainer certificate. It was of great help. He invented a tropical salad with tuna and egg, so why not drop by and try it? The restaurant is closed on Mondays, but apart from that you can eat any time Tuesday to Sunday from 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.
This year of course we took in a large number of new children and naturally enough none of them had ever seen Father Christmas, nor and advent calendar (complete with small presents to cut off every day, donated by one of my neighbours) and they knew nothing of the preparatory run-up to Christmas. Everyone was very excited, decorating the yard and putting up the plastic Christmas tree and when Christmas Eve finally came around, they sat wide-eyed in front of me with candles in hand – 120 candles in all. The story of Christmas from the Bible was read out in Moré by two of the older children, we all sang „Oh Christmas tree“ in German (having practised for ages, but still a few problems with pronunciation!) and then at last the large gate was thrown open, the tension mounts and there he is – Father Christmas!

plaetzchen-backen2He is standing on a donkey cart, coal black with a long white beard and hooded cape. There is a battery hidden under the presents on the cart and the donkey itself is completely wrapped in fairy lights, glittering tinsel and gold stars (crafted by our tutors). – each year I admire the infinite patience and tranquillity of the donkey. Sadly we don’t have a photograph because it was so dusty that evening, but I will never forget the astonished faces of the children. The scene was also enjoyed by the many guests from Germany and elsewhere abroad.

I am especially pleased with the team of Directors, because during my long absence they really took matters relating to the various institutions into their own hands and together they took many significant decisions. Last year we had many important discussions about new structures, the budget, accounting procedures and organisational issues in general. Thanks to the good services of my colleague, Andrea Reikat, who works closely with the very precise and demanding Board of the German Association, we were able to make many improvements. I’d like to express my sincere thanks to everyone involved.

The discussions are over, the budgets under control and at last the Directors can concentrate once more on the most important matter, in other words the children themselves. At AMPO the children are our highest priority. From now on administrative work will be limited to two mornings a week and by lunchtime annual reports, thoughts on the budget and accounting will be concluded. For such matters we have our efficient bookkeeping department and our wonderful administration that never loses sight of the big picture, not to mention our Coordinator, Andrea Reikat who keeps a watchful eye on everything, leaving time for me to play with the children, thank goodness. We have divided up our tasks more or less equally according to our talents, a good thing for both of us.

This also gives me the opportunity to take time to ponder on many issues and especially to review my basic ideas. Have I been true to myself? Was I correct in my concept of an orphanage 20 years ago and more? Has AMPO moved with the times in Burkina Faso?
Time has passed so quickly and a great deal has changed in the country. Influences from abroad have increased from Al-Qaida to American television series, from wrongly applied development aid to corruption. The number of children (66% of our population are younger than 25 and there are 600,000 applicants for approximately 10,00 vacant jobs in the capital), the number of cars and air pollution (our roads are inadequate) and the lack of schools and training opportunities are blatantly obvious.
On the other hand we have an entire nation, irrespective of religion and ethnicity, standing together. Together they got rid of the old president after 27 years, together they are dismantling his old networks, together they stand even after the brutal attack by Al-Qaida a few weeks ago (the day before I was sitting eating in the same place with five of our former boys and my husband, only 100 yards away at the same time of day – we were lucky to survive).
The people here love their country and have developed an unforeseen inherent strength. 
For me this is an indication of a continuing bond to custom and tradition, in which positive values persist, developing in an African way with as little influence as possible from Europe. That is my opinion and I’m sticking to it.

dsc_5149-webAre my founding principles still relevant today? Yes, they are. This is confirmed by our success with many children and in many of our institutions.
So what do we really need, not only in Burkina Faso but all over the world? 
We need confidence, solidarity, care and friendliness. Everyone in the world is afraid of violence and brutality and for that very reason the family and its cohesion, including all our friends, must play a major role once more. 
This has always been the AMPO philosophy, providing a home for lost children, growing up together, living together to make us strong.

What do we need in our lives here and now? 
We need courage and strength, consistency, care and a love of life. This is all we have to combat increasing violence. 
And we find all of this in our community, the world in which we live. I see this every day at AMPO, in fact our children never have actually serious quarrels. 
If there is a difference of opinion, others come along immediately to mediate.
Solidarity and care are values that are part of our daily lives in this poor country of Burkina Faso. Without them living in poverty is not at all possible. 
But why should this only apply to the poor? It can also aplly to us in Europe. We only have to open our eyes, be attentive and remain alert. 
This is something I learned in Africa and it helped me to lead a life of fulfilment – that is all we have in the world and I would wish it for everyone.

I rest my case. So please pass on these thoughts to your children and grandchildren. AMPO has so many long-standing, faithful donors. It is now up to the younger generation to become more involved. This is already the case with many of our faithful donor families. 
It is not difficult to understand: to stop the flow of refugees we have to work together to provide education and job opportunities in Africa, something I have been preaching and practising for more than 20 years. I am sure you will agree, which is why you are part of the crew of our large AMPO ship sailing on course. This is the right way to proceed and thank goodness I’ve seen this confirmed after such a long time.

I think with fondness of you and your families, of the carefully packed Christmas parcels for the children, of those who show interest when attending my presentations, of the donations given with love and generosity to enable us to go on making plans – and not least of the considerable contributions you make for our school fees. 
Please accept my heartfelt thanks.

Katrin Rohde 
(at present in the lovely city of Hamburg, but soon to be back again in Burkina Faso)


Sahel e.V.

Is it the same for you? Scarcely have we said goodbye to the old year with fireworks on New Year’s Eve when it’s time to start clearing up on the first day of the new year. The same goes for our Association. Scarcely has the old year finished and we have to start work on concluding accounts for 2015. We are working at the moment on analysing and coordinating the accounts and preparing our annual report. We are also looking forward to the annual reports from AMPO to inform you of the far-reaching outcome of the projects we have been able to promote thanks to your support.

However, right at the beginning of the year we received the news of terrorist attacks in Ouagadougou. Over the next few hours and days we anxiously kept abreast of developments and we were very relieved to receive every email from Katrin or Andrea – no matter how brief. Thankfully no one from AMPO was affected.

reisebericht-vorstand-hp-2016-347x490A few days later two of the Board Members of Sahel e.V. were due to set off for Ouagadougou and it was impossible to know at the time if the journey could actually take place. Heribert Prockl and Peter Mathar had already scheduled the trip, intending to visit projects, observe procedures and their outcome, conduct rounds of discussion and look for new products to sell in Germany. When the situation in the capital soon calmed down and remained calm, the two decided to set off as planned. And so on the 5th of February it was „Off to Africa!“ We are enclosing extracts from their travel report in this newsletter. You will find a detailed report on their experiences on our website:

“I saw with my own eyes the results of the many donations and I was able to witness for myself the fruit of the work of Sahel / AMPO. It is impressive to be able to experience this on behalf of all those who support Sahel.” Heribert Prockl

“The experience and the impressions of this trip will stay with us in our work over the coming months. During our stay at AMPO we decided to allocate considerably more wheelchairs in 2016:

Edouard hands over two tricycles to physically handicapped children. This will change their lives because until now they have been unable to leave their own yard. Now they will be able to participate in community life again. Like the scenes we witnessed two days ago in Manga, these are moments that touch the heart. Connie, Peter and I soon agreed on a new target to finance 50 wheelchairs in the next 12 months.“

With a one-off donation of €250 you can seriously improve someone’s life. These sturdy hand-operated wheelchairs are individually tailored to the needs of the user, so there could be for instance additional seats for children. The cost of a tricycle wheelchair is between €250 and €300.

This proposal is a good start in terms of our current targets for 2016, a year in which we have no building projects. Instead we wish to concentrate on the social aspects of our projects. By setting up a home for young women in training or further education we want to continue improving learning conditions and thus ensure better prospects for their future working life. This support is a long-term investment in the future of these young women – are you on board?

Updated brochures with the latest information on each institution are available in English and in German. If you are interested we can send copies you free of charge for you to distribute and pass around, or you can download them from our website.
This year once again the staff of Sahel e.V. and Katrin Rohde invite all friends and supporters old and new and anyone who is interested to come and meet us at our premises in Plön.