“Off to Africa!”

Board visit report February 2016
Heribert Prockl & Peter Mathar


vorstand-2016Day 1: After a perfect flight we land on time in Ouagadougou, full of expectation of what we are about to experience in the coming week. A message from the airline appears on my cellphone. Our luggage has not been loaded and is still in Paris. Great! We fill in several forms and finally set off for AMPO. No luggage, but not discouraged.

Day 2: Early in the morning I suddenly wake up: “Has a lorry just driven through my room?” The noise of the traffic in the nearby street is almost tangible. After a hearty breakfast we are greeted with a warm and voluble welcome by the AMPO Directors, although Peter and I hardly speak French. However the fundamental cheerfulness of our Directors is beyond words and it is also infectious. Andrea Reikat joins us and starts to interpret. We begin with a visit and inspect the premises on the AMPO site that were renovated or newly built last year. We visit the shop selling products from the AMPO workshops, articles made by the girls from MIA-ALMA and things made by former AMPO pupils.

k800_dscf9698Finally we are shown round the Clinic by Denis Yameogo. We are impressed by the fact that many patients, mainly women with children, are helped every day with such rudimentary equipment. Most patients cannot afford treatment through the official health system. At AMPO they only pay a small nominal fee and receive the medicines they need which they would otherwise have to pay for in hospital. In the afternoon a visit to the new Benga Zaka project is on the agenda. My impression is that this new project has got off to a good start and we will soon set up a home for girls along the same lines.

We are then treated to a traditional Burkina welcome with drumming, music and dancing at the orphanages. 170 children and young people celebrate our arrival and infect us with their joie de vivre. A courtyard full of happy, cheerful children. It soon gets dark and our first day leaves us with a very pleasant feeling.

img_5234Day 3: We go to visit the Tondtenga Agricultural College together with our friends from the Dr. Elvire Engel Foundation in Luxemburg which finances this project. This is where around 80 boys from surrounding villages spend 2 years learning about organic farming methods. The journey along asphalt roads and rough tracks is very impressive.

We are welcomed at the farm by applauding agricultural students standing in lines that we pass along one by one. After a short welcome speech we set off to look at the various animal stalls for ducks, hens, turkeys, pigs, cattle and rabbits. We also inspect the cultivated areas and confirm that the financial means are being spent as we would wish.

dsc01837Day 4: Today is a long day of meetings. We start at 9 o’clock with a round of discussion with the Directors of the AMPO institutions. We have enough topics for discussion: what are the tasks and the targets of the Board of the Sahel Association, what do we have in terms of specific, collective plans and how is the financial situation looking? We agree on a new common goal: by September we wish to set up a home for girls along the lines of the home for boys. Everyone agrees that this is a very sensible development of our training concept and it will help some girls a great deal in coping with their vocational training, making them better equipped for their next stage in life.

k800_dsc01841After four hours of intensive exchange most of us are exhausted and need to break for lunch. In the afternoon we reconvene with other participants to discuss the matter of the restaurant. We are able to come up with a good approach towards finding promising solutions because we all basically agree on the goals. Seven hours of intensive discussion in French and German take their toll and we are very happy to accept an invitation to dinner at Andrea Reikat’s.

k800_dsc01843Day 5: The MIA-ALMA project cares for female minors with HIV who have been rejected by their families. In some cases the girls have babies of their own. Together they welcome the guests from Germany with singing and dancing. On the whole the project gives the impression of being very well looked after and well organised, although the young women who live there are certainly not easy to care for.

k800_dsc01908We move on to P.P.Filles, the AMPO Counselling Centre for Women. In a nutshell, the work concentrates on the following: educating women and creating awareness, allocating microcredits to groups of women, social assistance for the needy with food aid and other kinds of support. In comparison to the bright eyed children at ALMA-MIA this is plain fare indeed, but it serves to illustrate the diversity of the work done by AMPO.

k800_dsc01915Day 6: Today we are accompanying Edouard, the Director of Handicap Mobile, the mobile wheelchair workshop, on one of his away assignments. Edouard and his team travel around neighbouring villages, repairing wheelchairs and tricycles for the poorest of the poor. Some of the people we meet talk to us about the suffering they have had. A young girl tells us that she had been unable to go outside the yard for seven years. She was given a tricycle a few years ago and now she is able to mix with other people and can even take on a small job. We hear similar tales of hardship and witness the profound gratitude of these people for the work done by AMPO. The faces and the stories really get under the skin.

dsc01921Day 7: Madame Adamou is responsible for the training and education of the AMPO children and today she takes us to visit several training centres, one of which is a centre for training midwives, nurses and primary school teachers. To round off our tour of training facilities we go to visit a private university with around 3,000 students, 3 of whom are former AMPO children who have now been given the opportunity through our education promotion programme to complete a very good course of study.

dsc01928Day 8: We start the day with a very nice ceremony. Edouard is handing over two tricycle wheelchairs to physically handicapped children. Connie, Peter and I confer briefly and decide to set a new target to finance 50 wheelchairs over the next 12 months. We are counting on the support of all of our AMPO friends reading this travel journal. All contributions welcome! A tailor-made wheelchair costs up to €300 and can make all the difference in the life of a person with handicap.

bild-1-tag-8Back at AMPO the Directors are already waiting for us for concluding discussions. This final exchange is not only to draw a summary of our trip in professional terms, we could not conclude such an occasion without the customary exchange of pleasantries and mutual expressions of thanks. We laugh a lot, we joke a lot and all of us regret that Katrin was unable to be with us this week. Yet we still have the feeling that she is always omnipresent at AMPO.

bild-2-tag-8I think the most significant result of our journey is that we got to know and appreciate each other better. This week certainly helped us to understand each other’s standpoints, problems and opinions. We came closer together, for there is nothing better than personal contact to improve cooperation. For my part I can draw a very positive conclusion to our trip and of course I will try to actively incorporate the many impressions, new information and new findings into my work on the Board.

Managré nooma, the good is never lost!

Heribert Prockl
(Chairman of the Board of Sahel e.V.)

Merry Christmas!

Weihnachtskarte 2015 Web ENG

Newsletter November 2015

Katrin kidsDear friends of our children in Africa,

I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful summer. Autumn is now here and winter is on its way, time to cuddle up and ponder over the happy moments we enjoyed throughout the year. One of my special memories is of the day I spent with the children at their summer camp in Koudougou in July. I had just arrived to a frantic welcome by all the kids when five minutes later the heavens opened and we felt as if we were standing beneath the Niagara Falls. I visited the children in their various quarters, we played together and had lots of fun. When we finally set off towards the kitchen to eat, the path was almost cut off and we were up to our knees in water. Best of all, our favourite meal was on the menu (steak with fries and salad – a once-a-year treat). The scene was chaotic – kids and cooks together dashed around in the kitchens and at the grill, trying to keep hold of their plates, visibly concentrating while paddling through mud and puddles looking for a dry spot to eat – what a colourful sight! Thank God we all enjoy life so much that we can turn almost any situation into great fun.

Summer memories: Action & free time for all children at summer camp

Summer memories: Action & free time for all children at summer camp

The AMPO children have now got back to their daily routine, encouraged by the excellent school results this year. The new kids (13 boys and 9 girls) also realise that we really take school seriously and I’m sure they will soon acclimatise. Every child in Africa is happy and proud to be able to attend school, because there are so many who simply can’t afford to. This year for the first time AMPO has been able to pay the school fees for nearly 1000 external children, strictly according to their performance, thanks to all the donors.

It is hard to imagine how important this is for the future of our country. I have been preaching “education” for the past 25 years. It is one of my dearest wishes that I have expressed so often in no uncertain terms on television, at the Foreign Office and to various Ministers. If only the western donor nations had started sending thousands of teachers to Africa 20 years ago, many of the tragedies in the Mediterranean would have been prevented. Instead of wasting millions that disappeared down murky channels, today we could have had critical, informed, intelligent young people in many African countries. This is particularly pertinent at this very moment. Of course Germany has to take care of thousands of refugees. It costs money and they need financial support. However there are still millions of young people in Africa who are hoping for a better life. We must give them the opprtunity of an education in their own countries, otherwise the flow of refugees will never cease.
Please continue to support us. Think of the future of these children and for the sake of peace we must spread the opportunities more evenly. You, our donors, have known for many years that AMPO is a reliable partner and your money reaches those who need it most.

School fees: Parents waiting for days in long queues on the farm from AMPO to apply for school fees.

School fees: Parents waiting for days in long queues on the farm from AMPO to apply for school fees.

As from April there are now two strong women from Germany to keep a watchful eye on things here. But of course I stick to my principle of Africa for the Africans and each institution is managed by an African Director. The overall supervision is still in German, not to mention Prussian hands.
Time to start packing. By the time you read this I will be back in Africa with my many children and with my husband. There are exciting times ahead. Elections are planned for the end of November, so please hope and pray with us for a wise and peaceful government in Burkina Faso.

I read somewhere that the people of Burkina have been put forward for the Nobel Peace Prize. I’m not sure it will happen but the move is excellent, considering that they resolved both a revolution and a coup by peaceful means. What other country has done that?

And it is precisely along those lines that we try to educate our AMPO children. During the recent coup the older ones phoned me saying: “There are fires all around and the gunshots are getting nearer, but don’t worry, Maman, we will look after the little ones.”

Peace, respect and courage to us all!
Katrin Rohde

Dear friends of AMPO,

During singing probe there were shots in the background.

During singing probe there were shots in the background.

What a start to the school year! On the 15th of September our children returned to the orphanages, struggling with large bags, some kids rather bedraggled and weighing a few pounds less because life where they come from is often tough, yet all of them enriched by the change and the experience at home. And then only one day later, in the afternoon of the 16th of September, the first shots were fired, side effects of the coup that concerned all of us in Burkina Faso in the second half of September. The children stayed inside the orphanages because AMPO is better protected than any normal building on account of its reputation in this country. In their neighbourhoods and with their families the children were exposed to much greater dangers. We stocked up on supplies and made sure that the emergency generators had enough fuel. At that time the greatest enemy we faced at AMPO was boredom over extended periods. Being stuck at home, not knowing what was going on outside was really nerve-racking, not only for the adults but especially for the children.

It was fortunate that we had planned to have choir practice around then in preparation for the German national holiday. The German Ambassador to Burkina Faso had asked if the children could sing both national anthems on the 3rd of October and since Martha Swaogo had scheduled the first practice for the 17th of September, we sang as from the 17th of September and the courtyard resounded to “Unity and Justice and Freedom” and to the message of freedom of the anthem of Burkina Faso accompanied by gunfire from outside.

The children’s performance on the 3rd of October was a huge success and in the absence of Katrin AMPO was duly represented at the reception by an entire group led by our two Directors, Christine Adamou and Mathias Zoré. The children were very proud to perform because Germany is the home of their beloved Maman and therefore they love it too.

At the Day of German Unity AMPO was guest at the Embassy.

At the Day of German Unity AMPO was guest at the Embassy.

The routine of the new school year has now set in at AMPO. All the children have gone back to school, apprentices have started training and the new kids have moved into the orphanages. With the beginning of the school year we also welcome a new “family member” in the form of a new institution. What was formerly the MIA House is now the home of “Benga Zaka” as from October. The name is taken from a simple home-made dish of beans and rice, Benga. In this new home we don’t provide meals. Benga Zaka will provide adequate housing for up to 15 young men in training, where they will also have to learn to stand on their own two feet, which means they cook for themselves. In future the home will accommodate students and trainees. We started in October when 8 boys moved in. Some of them left AMPO at the end of the last school year, others left one or two years ago but conditions at home are much too hard for them to concentrate properly on their studies or training.

Our aim is to give the children a long-term perspective. For this they need education as a basis. They also need good education conditions and good training opportunities. It is not like in Germany – apprentices in Burkina Faso are not paid during their training, rather they have to pay the workshops that take in apprentices and they pay for vocational training at college. Thus our training costs are increasing from year to year, which is why we came up with the idea of offering you, our friends, the possibility of “sponsoring” those older ones. Maybe there is a lawyer, an electrician, a bank employee among you who would like to open up a career opportunity for a future colleague. Or else make it possible for a child in Africa to embark on a career you were unable to pursue yourself for want of an opportunity. Whatever your motive might be, a career sponsorship will change the life of a young person here in the long run and enable him or her to support him or herself and their future family. We rely on your contributions and if you would like further information about training sponsorships please contact the Sahel e.V. office or visit our website.

Here in Ouagadougou we are looking forward to the presidential elections scheduled for the end of November, which most probably will lead to a second deciding ballot (a première in the history of the country) round about Christmas. Our wish for a peaceful Christmas this year has never been more profound.

With very best wishes,
Andrea Reikat

Good to see you! Welcome to AMPO!

13 boys and 9 girls were the latest arrivals at our orphanages in September

13 boys and 9 girls were the latest arrivals at our orphanages in September

Nine new girls get used to an orphanage.

Nine new girls get used to an orphanage.

The children in the orphanages are often sponsored by donors in Europe during their stay at AMPO (and sometimes beyond). This summer 22 new children were taken in, 13 boys and 9 girls aged between 9 and 16 years, most of them orphans or semi-orphans from particularly difficult social backgrounds. We are still looking for sponsors for some of the children. If you would like to offer long-term support to one of the children in our orphanages, we should be very grateful. We should be pleased to send you our guidelines for sponsors giving you detailed information about our sponsorship programme.

Katrin Rohde: “They won’t be looking so scared for very long! They have all now been vaccinated and have started school. Every newcomer is assigned to a brother or sister whose job is to take responsibility for the child within the larger family and to make sure everything goes smoothly. We trust their big brothers and sisters to help them get used to our AMPO setup and all its advantages as quickly as possible. The first thing they have to get used to are regular meals. And just like in any normal family there are rights but also duties. Hopefully by the end of the week at the latest they won’t be walking round with their heads down, but they will be skipping across the yard and then I’ll know – everything is o.k.”


The board: V.l. Peter Mathar, Heribert Prockl, Constanze Ternes, Wulf Dau-Schmidt

The board: V.l. Peter Mathar, Heribert Prockl, Constanze Ternes, Wulf Dau-Schmidt

A highlight of our association is the Annual General Meeting which always provides an opportunity for members, the board, staff and guests of Sahel e.V. to meet and exchange thoughts. This year a number of members and guests came together under sunny skies in Plön, the place where it all started for Katrin Rohde. In a beautiful location with a splendid view over the lake the participants enjoyed this special weekend. Plön is also where the Sahel e.V. has its headquarters and so it was possible to visit the office premises and purchase handicrafts from Burkina Faso and products from the AMPO workshops in our shop.

The weekend started with an AMPO evening opened by Katrin Rohde with an overview of the past 20 years of development work. This was followed by Andrea Reikat who entertained us with an account of her first weeks and months at AMPO, without Katrin Rohde who was absent for reasons of ill health.

In the course of the meeting the Board provided information about developments over the past year and plans of projects and activities for the future. During the meeting the Board was elected for the coming two-year period and we are pleased to welcome a new member of the Board, Wulf Dau-Schmidt, a social worker who has been working for some years in Kiel in urban development and planning. He will support the work of the Board of Sahel e.V. in future. Heribert Prockl (Chairman), Constanze Ternes (Vice-Chairman) and Peter Mathar (Board Member) were re-elected to the Board.

ampokalender2016-titel-sprialbindungLet the AMPO children share the coming year with you. The new calendar focusses on ten young people from the AMPO institutions, their history, their origins and their dreams. For every African, family and roots are the most important things in life. At AMPO we take these original roots and tend them with love. Education provides young people with perspectives for dreams, so that the small root may grow into a mighty tree. The calendar has been produced in two languages (English and German) for the first time and also has the usual space for your notes. You can order the 2016 calendar from the attached catalogue or you can order calendars as presents for others, to spread the good news. Profits from calendar sales go direct to the AMPO institutions.

Newsletter July 2015

Katrin-RohdeI do hope you all have a wonderful summer.

This is now the second time I am unable to report to you direct from Ouagadougou. Sadly I am a bit more ill than I thought and had to spend the past six months not too far away from my doctors. Things are however improving and in the near future I will be able to return to put my arms around the children and my husband I love so much.
Nevertheless I am kept up to date by the daily email correspondence and all the phone calls confirming again and again that everything is moving along nicely in all the AMPO facilities. Every week the kids gather round the telephone to call „When are you coming home, Maman?“. These days it is no problem to exchange information and advice quickly with all the AMPO Directors. With some foresight I spent many years gradually delegating all the work to the directors of the individual projects, working on the principle of „Africa for the Africans!“ And just in time the new Project Coordinator, Andrea Reikat from Germany, started working for us. She is professional, agile and friendly and has a great sense of humour. We too are in constant contact because her workload is huge, considering we had no time together to break her in. She really deserves credit.

So you will have to wait until the next newsletter to read what the kids are up to, especially after all the fun and excitement of summer camp which we are all looking forward to immensely. Otherwise everyday life centres around the rather tough school curriculum, so we take full advantage of summer camp for play and leisure activities.

At the beginning of the year an old friend of mine from the Dear Foundation doubled the donations we received after the Tietjen& Hirschhausen chat show on German television – a remarkable feat! This friend has been committed to doing good through her foundation all over the world for many years, supporting projects with a very critical eye.
I’d like to share with you some of her words of wisdom based on her experience on the subject of sustainable donation. Since you are also long-standing friends of AMPO, I wish to pass on the advice of the expert on donating and sustainability.
With best wishes to you and your families for bright, sunny days packed with fulfilment.

Katrin Rohde, currently in Hamburg.

Andrea Reikat and the AMPO Directors

Andrea Reikat and the AMPO Directors

Dear friends of AMPO,
It is now nearly six months since AMPO in Ouagadougou has had to manage without the physical presence of Katrin Rohde, her stimulus and her energy. A protracted illness has kept us apart, but the most important thing in this situation is that Katrin gets well soon and returns as quickly as possible to embrace once more her children and all those in her charge.

For this reason this second newsletter of 2015 is drafted from the perspective of me, Andrea Reikat, who was actually supposed only to assist Katrin as of the beginning of April, but was thrown in at the deep end sooner than planned. The water in fact was not so deep after all and I was was buoyed up by the fantastic team that Katrin had put together here over the past few years. So this newsletter is a joint venture, written by me with the particular support of the Directors of the various facilities that make up the overall AMPO project and fill it with life.

Thrilled with the new MIA-ALMA premises

Thrilled with the new MIA-ALMA premises

The biggest challenge for nearly all of us in the past six months was settling down after the various moves. The girls simply moved from one side of the road to the other, owing to the reconstruction of the dirt road into a four-lane major trunk road. They now live in what used to be the courtyard, adjacent to the boys’ orphanage, so that the girls and the boys can see each other and meet up without the risk of crossing the new road. The entrances to the girls‘ and the boys‘ orphanages were moved away from the road to the parallel street at the back, keeping the area directly in front of the orphanages safe and protected. All this was only made possible by the donations that you, our friends, gave so generously to cope with the upheaval.

The abandoned girls and their children at the MIA and ALMA houses had a longer way to go. They moved from their relatively small premises to the former EMMAYIRI project on the outskirts of Ouagadougou, about 5 km. from the other facilities. They now all live together in spacious bungalows with much more room, built on a meadow, which affords a better interior climate, making the high temperatures inside the houses more bearable. There is also plenty of space in the yard and they have inherited a vegetable garden from the previous residents, which they tend with a great deal of pleasure and devotion. However there are still some problems to be solved. The new MIA-ALMA premises are so far out of town that there is no connection to the electricity grid and the existing solar energy plant fails to produce enough electricity for the number of inhabitants.

Spacious dressmaking workshop with solar panels on the roof

Spacious dressmaking workshop with solar panels on the roof

We were able to increase the solar-powered capacity of the water pump, but the capacity for providing light is still insufficient. In addition, those girls who have to go to the city for work or training have a long way to travel. A few more bicycles would be of great help.

The latest move involved the PPFilles Counselling Centre. They have been in what used to be the ALMA house since April and they now have more room available for large group and smaller group meetings. Here it is easier now to cope with the increased demand, since each individual section in the Counselling Centre (social issues, microcredits, educational event organisation) has its own office.

The major reconstruction work at AMPO started in 2014 and is now entering its final phase i.e. remodelling and extending the training facilities. Since the girls’ orphanage moved across the road there is now more space on this side to remodel the MAM DUNIA training restaurant and create more training opportunities.

Colourful fashion show at AMPO Open Day

Colourful fashion show at AMPO Open Day

In the orphanages on the one hand the school year is coming to an end and on the other, we have been busy since May meeting the candidates for the places which will become vacant and looking into their state of need. This is one of the most difficult jobs in the course of the year. There are so many applications, so many heart-rending stories and so few places to fill. This task is extremely taxing for our Directors and Tutors and it can only be done because we provide at least the school fees for many of those we are unable to admit. And that is precisely what we will be doing over the next few weeks, paying the school fees for the children who live with us and for the children we support outside. Here too there is always a lot of checking and organising to do. Did the child we supported last year actually attend school and do the school results justify continuing the support? Or would it be better to look for a training opportunity? What new children do we admit? Who is really in need? What school place or training possibility can be found? How good is the training in the training facilities? We take this job very seriously because we at AMPO are convinced that education is a sustainable way out of poverty.

The beginning of June was an exciting time for all the 15-16 year-olds who took their final exams at school (intermediate high school certificate). Out of 10 candidates, 5 passed the exam first time and the others have a chance to resit. So there is still hope! And we are very proud of them. Dear friends, the school system here is much, much tougher than in Germany. We continue to support our children and for those who are not cut out for the school bench, we will find other possibilities for them to stand on their own two feet. That is what AMPO is all about!

AMPO is twenty years old this year and we did not celebrate. We didn’t and we simply couldn’t celebrate in Katrin’s absence. Any celebration by and with the children but without Katrin who built all this up would not have been fitting. Instead we decided to have an open day and that was a huge success. All the facilities came together and put on an exciting 2-hour programme of dance, sketches, fashion shows and presentations of all the projects and afterwards we haggled, bargained, ate and drank and kept on dancing. Being together among ourselves and with friends old and new did all of us a power of good and for the staff of the AMPO workshops and former trainees it was very encouraging to see the success of their products and make such a good sale in a single day.

In conclusion I’d like to have a look at the situation in the country in general. Thank God things have remained quiet after the revolution last year. There were a few minor strikes and some unrest in the population when there were lengthy power cuts every day in the hot months of April and May. However there were no large demonstrations or riots. The parties are setting themselves up for the elections due to be held in October and this too is taking the peaceful course typical of Burkina, without violent confrontation. Having said that, we still must be on our guard, but we are confident that the people who themselves removed the damage they had caused during their revolution in 2014, will not let themselves be roused to rioting out of control. One ground for concern at the moment is rather that the rainy season this year is very slow in coming. A country in the Sahel Region needs rain more urgently than anything else. We just hope it comes in time and in sufficient quantities to prevent an increase in the number of poor people who can no longer fend for themselves.

We hope that in the next few weeks the temperatures here in Ouagadougou will be on par with those in Europe and we look forward to the coming months at AMPO full of interesting, varied, happy moments marked by a sense of community, some of which at least we will share with Katrin. Dear friends, we wish you all the best and express our thanks on behalf of all those in our care for your empathy and commitment.

Andrea Reikat

Dear friends of Ampo,

How do I donate effectively?

Sonja Dinner

Sonja Dinner

We are an exclusively grant-making foundation and we are frequently asked this question. Let me start by saying there is no simple or easy answer. However, there are a few principles which should be borne in mind to avoid channelling too much money into administrative costs or areas one does not wish to support. This applies to most relief organisations, none of which is only good or only bad. Relief organisations are made up of individuals who are committed to a cause. I am specifically not referring to criminal organisations which unfortunately may be encountered from time to time. But it can be said that in large organisations the tendency is for the administrative apparatus to be larger and therefore more expensive than in smaller units.

Typically speaking however, the highest degree of professionalism is not to be found in the smallest organisation. Basically there should be a balance of economic and humanitarian aspects. The principle applies that the management and control of aid projects not only should incur costs, indeed they must incur costs if the project is to be conducted professionally. Permit me therefore to highlight a few arguments which may give you food for thought:

  • Proactive: Select one or two relief organisations that you find convincing in terms of their philosophy, projects, transparency and donation utilization.
  • Constant: Remain loyal to the organisations you have selected and refrain from changing frequently, unless serious occurrences adversely affect their credibility.
  • Reasonable: Draw up a donation budget. If you wish to donate say 500 Euros a year, you should give it to one project and not ten different ones.
  • Transparent: Inform the organisation how much you wish to spend on which project. This helps those responsible to plan and budget.
  • Self-confident: Indicate clearly that you do not wish to receive begging letters. Threaten to suspend your donations if you find such letters in your mailbox in future.
  • Effective: Instead of sponsoring a single child, support a project. This benefits not an individual child but may give an entire village access to medical facilities.

The DEAR Foundation finances or co-finances more than 130 international partner organisations throughout the world. I can only assure the friends of AMPO that in our view as professionals AMPO is one of the best organisations in the world in matters relating to their relief projects (sustainability and a sense for the cultural environment, financial transparency). The AMPO accounts are audited annually by a local accounting firm and have been inspected twice so far by a German accounting firm. I visit the projects regularly in person and am deeply impressed at how every Euro is used effectively for the benefit of those in need. For these reasons I warmly recommend you to join us in supporting AMPO in future. The people and particularly the children of Burkina Faso need our help.

With best wishes,
Sonja Dinner


There have been some additions to the Sahel e.V. family recently. Since Ricarda Dittrich is leaving us for a while to look after the addition to her own family, we set out to find new members for our team at the office in Plön. Svea Jelinski came to Sahel e.V. for practical training and her open, imperturbable nature convinced us not to let her go again. Some of the work in the office will be in her capable hands in future. We also managed to bring on board Birka Böhling, whose experience in the import business will stand in good stead for looking after container transport and child sponsoring.
We wish Ricarda Dittrich every happiness with her family and look forward to her return with all her skills and experience.


We have just got round at last to enjoying the summer in Germany, but at Sahel e.V. we are already thinking about Christmas. The shipment of Christmas parcels has to be prepared well in advance for the presents to arrive in time. We are already looking forward to the lovingly wrapped parcels which should reach us by the end of September.
As in previous years, we have already been able to bring new children together with sponsors in Germany. We are still looking for sponsors for some of the children. We should be grateful for your long-term support of a child from our orphanages. If you would like to find out more, we would be happy to send you our guidelines for sponsors, giving you a brief overview of our sponsorship programme.

Graduation 2015: We had a fantastic farewell celebration this year!

Madame Adamou proud with their successful girls

Madame Adamou, proud with their successful girls

Among the many guests were envoys from the embassies, a former minister and the families of the AMPO graduates. We all came together last Saturday for the official farewell of those leaving AMPO after so many years.

35 happy young people were sent off to a new life of independence, most of them with excellent school leaving certificates or having learned a trade. Our Training Committee will still be there to guide them as they take their first steps in this new journey – are they attending university regularly? – are they on time for classes at fashion college? – do they have a safe place to sleep? – are they eating properly? AMPO will continue to pay for their education and upkeep for another two or more years.

We could not afford this in the past. When AMPO was still very small and poor the young people had to leave to fend for themselves in this urban Moloch at the age of 18. Every carpenter was given saws and hammers, every dressmaker a sewing machine and that was it. Many of them nevertheless made a go of it and I am very proud of the ex-AMPO kids who now ride their own mopeds, get married, have children of their own and settle down in society. They still come back to their old “maman” at AMPO to have their mopeds blessed (it’s a custom here) – and of course I do my best!

an own self-powered sewing machine as seed money

For the seamstresses an own self-powered sewing machine as seed money

The Director of the orphanage gave a speech which he had difficulty completing for sheer emotion. Saying goodbye to six young people all with baccalaureate in the same year is some achievement. I am particularly pleased for our tutors because this shows the great job they have done with such commitment for the success of the children – did anyone ever mention overtime?

The evening the results of the six baccalaureates were announced all the kids at AMPO held an impromptu party. I was not there myself but I felt I had to send over a box of sweets and cakes every couple of hours because they danced well into the night.

The joy at this success was shared by all the younger kids too. They always want to be like the big kids, so there is no problem there. Inshallah there will be even more baccalaureates at AMPO in the years to come – that’s for sure.

All the best,
Katrin Rohde

Joy and applause for the success: 35 young people accompanied into life.

Joy and applause for the success: 35 young people accompanied into life.