Posted on November 9, 2017
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…. girl from the land of the upright
Do you know the African country whose name translates to ‘Land of upright people’?
This country has a significant gold reserve and is the largest producer of cotton in Africa; its two main export products. In area size it is the 74th largest country in the world, with a population of 18.65 million people. Parts of this country boasts of beautiful lakes, waterfalls and rock formations, all of which are breath taking sights. Potentially, this should be a country for mass tourism. Yet many people will not recognise its name, let alone know its geographical location.
This country is Burkina Faso, located in West Africa, above Ghana and parts of Ivory Coast and Togo and its large northern neighbours, Mali and Niger, in the northwest and northeast, respectively. Its capital is Ouagadougou.
With all its potential, this former French colony, previously known as Upper Volta, ranks among the 20 poorest countries in the world, with a GDP per capita of £1,270. Put in perspective, the 20th richest country in the world has a GDP per capita of £39,820. Burkina Faso’s economy has over the years suffered from economic and political instability, mainly from recurring droughts and military coups. In turn, these have affected development in the country and the social life of Burkinabes (as its people are known). Sadly the average life expectancy of the Burkinabe male is 55 and 57 for females.
Education has not been left out of the pot of affected sectors and although on paper, schooling is free and compulsory until the age of 16, the reality is far from this. The UNICEF Schools for Africa report states that
“…The country’s [Burkina Faso] education statistics are among the lowest in the world, with only three out of five children completing primary school and only a third of adults being literate. The education system is characterized by geographical and social disparities both in terms of enrolment rate and in infrastructure coverage. For example, only 7 per cent of children from the poorest households attend secondary school. There is also a significant gender disparity, with 65.7 per cent of boys attending school against 54.5 per cent of girls. Drop-out rates and the numbers of children repeating grades are also very high. The preschool situation is particularly dismal, with fewer than 2 per cent of children below seven years enrolled in early learning programmes.”
It is against this backdrop that ACT is supporting disadvantaged children and orphans, like Yacine Elodie, providing them with education and welfare support so that they can achieve their potential in life. ACT has been supporting Yacine and her younger sister, Josiphia since 2005 when Yacine was 11 years old.
Yacine is no stranger to tragedy; she lost her father in a tragic road accident when she was only six years old. After a period of struggling to raise Yacine and her sister alone, her mother fell ill forcing her to give up her job. This in turn affected the ability of the two girls to continue their education. ACT took them on for support and successfully funded their education in primary school, seeing them through secondary school and into tertiary education. A bright young woman, Yacine is in her final year at the University of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, studying Law. This is a great achievement, in a nation where less than one percent of the population receive university education.
Yacine is one of the many children in Burkina Faso who have benefited immensely from educational funding by ACT. Since 2001 a total of 335 orphan children have been supported across the country. More than 90 percent have completed secondary school of which 12 attended university and 4 have graduated.
To find out how you can help support another child like Yacine, click here here