Serving God's People in Africa since 1868

Help Give the Gift of Education and Training in Burkina Faso, West Africa

Not long ago, I was at a gathering with a group of friends — some of whom teach college courses. As the evening wore on, our conversation turned to a discussion about what constitutes a good student. Each person had his own opinion, but something that all of them agreed upon was that men and women who value their educational opportunity often make the best students. “Men and women who are the first in their family to go to college, to have such an opportunity, know that education is not something to be taken lightly. The students I have who are the first in their family to attend college know that this opportunity could change their lives forever.”


Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.

Nelson Mandela (1918-2013)

Training Conference in Burkina Faso

A training conference in Burkina Faso. They hunger to learn!

Not long ago, I was at a gathering with a group of friends — some of whom teach college courses. As the evening wore on, our conversation turned to a discussion about what constitutes a good student. Each person had his own opinion, but something that all of them agreed upon was that men and women who value their educational opportunity often make the best students. “Men and women who are the first in their family to go to college, to have such an opportunity, know that education is not something to be taken lightly. The students I have who are the first in their family to attend college know that this opportunity could change their lives forever.”

I mention this because when I heard my friend speak, it reminded me of a letter that I received recently from Fr. Mathieu Sama, a priest who lives and works in Koudougou, Burkina Faso, West Africa. Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in the world, so perhaps that is why Fr. Mathieu sees how education is one thing that can provide hope for a better future.

Nearly half of the men, women and children in Burkina Faso live in poverty. And while the country is working to improve access to basic services such as electricity and water, the overwhelming majority of the people live in remote, rural areas . . . struggling to survive.

Construction of the building extension by trainees.

“Most people here will not live to be 60 years old,” Fr. Mathieu explains. “Many will barely finish grade school much less attend high school. At the same time, the population of Burkina Faso is growing quickly — so for a woman or man who has education or training, there is an opportunity to create a better life not only for themselves but for their family as well. This in turn will help the entire nation!”

“If these young people are ever going to have hope for a better future — a future without poverty — they need education and training for job skills. So many of them have already shown an interest in learning and becoming skilled. We want to provide them with the education and training they need as best as we can.”

“Some of the training that people are requesting are for those who want to be painters and hair dressers. Both of these skills will be needed as the number of jobs increases and the population of our area grows. But to do this, we need to purchase equipment which will allow us to educate a larger number of students at the same time.”

“We are also expanding our building so as to accommodate more students. I am hoping that there is some way you can help us reach out to more young people who are so very hungry to learn. They know that they need education. Now they just need someone to help them get it.”

As I read Fr. Mathieu’s letter, I again thought about the conversation I had had with my teacher friends:
men and women who know the value of education make the best students! Will you help us reach out to those who long for the training and skills they need to have hope for a better future?

One way you can help in your own community is by volunteering to read to children at your local library. Did you know that children who have someone read to them are more likely to develop a love for reading themselves — making for better students? You could also volunteer to be a teacher’s aid in your local school district! Many schools are currently underfunded, so they are desperately looking for volunteers from the community.

I am also hoping that you will send a donation to be used for education programs like Fr. Mathieu’s as well as other education programs in our missions throughout East and West Africa. While our goal is to raise at least $36,000 to be used in this program and others, please know that any amount you send — whether a large amount or smaller one — will help provide hope for those who long for a better life. Your donation can make a difference for generations to come!

 

Your Missionary Friend,

Denis P. Pringle
Director of Development