A few days ago, the news of an alleged terrorist attack at a school in a neighboring quarter of Rimkieta spread panic amongst the parents of the children in our programs. All the parents, that is, except those whose children benefit from the street kids project.
This December 2019 marks the first 15 years of FAR’s presence in Rimkieta. We celebrated in style with our staff and their family (almost 200 people): a beautiful thanksgiving mass – where all of you were present – followed by a feast that finished with a spontaneous dance in which, if you’ll pardon the expression, “we went all out.”
The consequences of the increasing insecurity in Burkina, due to daily terrorist attacks, are becoming dire. More than 2,000 closed schools have left almost 400,000 students on the streets and more than 9,000 teachers without a job this academic year. Added to that are more than 80 closed medical centers, leaving an extensive population of more than 600,000 people unattended and in a precarious healthcare and humanitarian situation, and the massive displacement of more than 500,000 people.
While we were designing one of this year’s new projects, the awareness campaign against FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) – a practice prohibited and penalized in Burkina Faso since 1986 but unfortunately still very active – none of us could have imagined how much impact it would have within 48h after launching it. This has me smiling as I sit at my computer.
We are in the middle of the busy period of granting school and university scholarships for the new academic year. You can imagine the feeling in the air: there is a lot of commotion, meticulously organized, but a lot of commotion nonetheless. There are happy and satisfied faces all-around: on the mothers, on the boys and girls receiving the scholarships, and, of course, on us, who have the privilege to bestow them. But the reason why one mother was four days late to pick up the scholarship for her daughter has triggered an anxiety that I’m having trouble overcoming.