Burkina Faso Spring Update
Burkina Faso, Gampela Centre
The Gampela Centre is currently closed due to the growth of COVID-19 in Burkina Faso. The Gampela Centre is now accepting donations to package and transport gels, soaps, rice and oil to families, which represent the most pressing needs of the community at this time. We will continue to assess and respond to the needs as best we can.
We are happy to report the expansion of the food program for primary school students to include middle-school students this past year. There is little more rewarding than seeing a hungry belly filled, and I hope the photos here bring warmth to your heart. We continue to need ongoing support for this increased food program and seek monthly program sponsors, also known as Community Builders, to sustain this work.
Meeting with Parents
In December 2019, a special meeting for parents occurred at the school. During the meeting, a father stood up slowly to say something. “We want you to know that the community acknowledges what the school is doing here,” he said. “Though we are poor, we want you to know that our heart is with you. All of the parents are grateful for this school.” The comment made Pastor John, Director of the Gampela Centre, emotional and was a great source of validation of all the work over the years.
"I was having problems with my child’s behaviour, but I’ve noticed that something is changing thanks to the school, and I wanted to say thank you for that"Mother of a student
“When we cross the school gate as we come in, we know that our children are in a safe place.”Father of a student
A Growing School
While the school is closed for several weeks due to the pandemic, we are excited to report that the Gampela School is now serving 390 students – up almost 50 from last year.
Medical Clinic and Pharmacy
The Gampela Centre continues to develop the medical clinic and pharmacy. The nearest pharmacy is over 15 km away (a long way for someone enduring illness or travelling by foot) and is often out of stock of essential medications. The nearest hospital is a 30-40-minute drive. The clinic is another crucial way the centre is reaching out to the Gampela community.
"The plan is to have a nurse here every day eventually and to have the doctor come once or twice a week for appointments."John TandambaIn January of 2020, the clinic received a second stage approval, giving it the legal status to offer consultations through nurse practitioners. This approval marks a significant step towards the goal of having a regular doctor, which will come with further regulatory approval. Nurse Alice is now attending the clinic a couple of days a week on a volunteer basis, and Doctor Lompo has been travelling to the school from the city on occasion to complete check-ups for the children.
Vocational Training Centre
The Gampela leadership has now confirmed plans to launch a complete vocational training centre. The centre will allow graduate students and young adults to learn skilled trades and other employable skills. “In supporting the Centre’s mission to provide quality Christian education, we cannot overlook the need to develop skilled tradespeople,” John shared. The program will begin with masonry, and will expand to offer welding and electrical training, and likely sewing, weaving, and computer training.
To enable children to reach their potential, we must recognize that many young people will not be able to work in an office or a profession reached through academia. This training centre is an essential development for the community and the children, and we are seeking financial support with the hope to begin construction by the end of the year.
Please pray for security in Burkina Faso, for the slowing of the spread of Coronavirus in Burkina Faso, enabling the school to re-open, and for the special outreach to vulnerable children and families during the outbreak, that this outreach will serve to make the community stronger, and bring witness to the love of Christ. Sign up to receive regular prayer requests.
We offer praise for the continued courage and entrepreneurial spirit of the Gampela Centre leadership. The school recently began a school garden, seeking to teach the children the fundamentals of producing food, while also supplementing the school’s food program. This project will take some time to establish but will provide excellent skills to the children. We also want to offer our praise for the work of Assistant Pastor Mathew, who has been offering additional counselling to children in need.