BURKINA FASO: New Salesian complex underway to offer education, a women’s center and other programs for young girls and women
(MissionNewswire) Thanks to the joint efforts of several Salesian organizations in Spain, a Women’s Promotion Center is taking shape in Kouba, within the capital city of Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso. The center will be operated by the Salesian Daughters of Mary Help of Christians as part of a vast socio-educational project. Work started in December 2017 and should be completed within 10 months.
This is the second construction phase of the large socio-educational, cultural and sporting complex for children and older youth, especially girls, that the Salesian sisters have planned for the next five to 10 years. The complete project will include a nursery school, primary and secondary schools, a shelter for girls with limited resources, an oratory open to the neighborhood with sports facilities and educational workshops of various kinds. The new Women’s Center will offer apprenticeships and foster literacy.
The Women’s Center was developed to address the precarious situation experienced by many women and young girls by providing qualified skills and professional training in sectors such as catering, tailoring, information technology and hairdressing. The project includes courses of literacy, support for work placement, education in values and time management. The main objective of the project is to train girls and women so they can work and earn an income while breaking free from a life of poverty.
To date, the first phase of the construction project has been completed with the construction of a tower water tank, which has the ability to supply the entire complex, as well as a training course in horticultural techniques for a hundred women in the area. This is particularly important as the land is arid and water resources are essential to ensure good and proper hygiene and proper nutrition for the local families.
The global project has the support of the Salesian organizations Solidaridad Don Bosco, VOLS, Jóvenes y Desarrollo, the MadreSelva Foundation and the Austrian Salesian organization Jugend Eine Welt-Don Bosco, as well as the support of various public bodies. The educative-pastoral community of the Mary Help of Christian Province in Spain has also played a key role in supporting this project as well as the “Sowing opportunities in Burkina” campaign, which donated more than 50,000 euros.
“Education is always our primary focus,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “But we know that youth and their families in Burkina Faso are dealing with much more than just having access to education. Salesian programs, like this new center, are tailored to meet the needs of the communities they serve in order to have maximum impact for the individual and the community.”
Salesian missionaries have been working in Burkina Faso, a landlocked country in West Africa, since March 1993. Missionaries first began their work in Bobo-Dioulasso, the second largest city in the country. They settled in a neighborhood known as Ouezzin, an expanding area of the city. The nearby area is crossed by several rivers. On those riverbanks crops are cultivated then sold in the city and exported to the city of Ouagadougou. Salesian missionaries provide education and social development services designed to create a sense of family among the most vulnerable children and those most at risk of social exclusion.
Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in Africa, ranking 185 out of 188 countries on the Human Development Index 2015. According to the World Bank, more than 46 percent of the country’s population lives in poverty on less than USD 1.25 per day. Burkina Faso has suffered from several serious droughts that have driven up food prices affecting the country’s food supply and causing malnutrition among the poorest residents and children. Up until the 1980s, the country also dealt with devastating military coups.
World Bank – Burkina Faso