2017 Day 20 & 21

Sunday 29 and Monday 30 January 2017

I would wrap up my visit in these last two days. Mariam, Chance for Change’s representative in Burkina Faso, joined me for a visit with Rajaa, whom she had proposed to us as a beneficiary. Rajaa is in her third and last year of telecommunications at New Dawn University. Her father is unemployed for a long time; her mother works as a nursing assistant. They have seven children; Rajaa is number three.

Rajaa, Mariam and me.

She would like to go on to a Master’s, but we now hesitate to fund Master’s study—first, it’s expensive and second, of the seven girls we’ve financed for a Master’s thus far and who graduated, not one has yet defended her thesis to collect the diploma.

So we’re putting Rajaa on hold.

From Rajaa’s, we went to the Handicrafts Village where I buy jewellery for resale. I first stopped at the stall of Yahaya, a Hausa jeweller, to buy a few things.

Then I found Ibrahim, a Tuareg, from whom I’ve been buying jewellery for about five years.

I relied on Mariam to pick; I have lousy taste.

Mariam and I had dinner to talk about Chance for Change, our sister organisation in the US.

The next morning I went to Christiane’s office for a wrap-up session. With her was her colleague, Elise, who was working on a plan to consolidate the operations of our two associations and refine our procedures.

Elise

They were elaborating a three-year plan. In the first year they would define criteria for the selection of beneficiaries and choose a selection committee. Applicants would be required to submit a CV and a letter of motivation. We would also put in place a computer training course, using the skills of Clarisse, who has a Master’s in informatics. And we would simplify our banking procedures.

In the second year, we would launch a sexual health program, possibly relying on our Burkinabe Board member Safia, Dr. Traore?, and Michel Komi, the male nurse in Koudougou. We could ask Odile the pediatrician to advise on child care.

They were still working out the third year objectives. But they would need a full time assistant. All stuff for our two Boards to consider.

With Elise and Christiane

I spent a quiet afternoon in the hotel garden waiting for my flight out. Diane came by to get some money for the solar lamp I had promised her. I remembered how she looked the first time I interviewed her in 2011 as a last year secondary school student. She had lost both her parents at the age of three and was raised by an uncle. Since 2012, we have supported her 12 months a year.

Now, what a fine young woman she’s become. She finishes her Master’s degree in accounting this year.

I hope you’ve enjoyed sharing with me these 21 days in Burkina Faso, and especially meeting all the young women we’ve been able to help. Each story builds confidence in how, with a little boost, lives can be turned around.

As you’ve seen, we have seven new candidates for aid this fall. I count on your support. Thanks.

France

Email: info@chanceforchangecharity.org