The Yoann Foundation
This project supports women in need, particularly mothers of disabled children, or women who are, themselves, disabled.
This project supports women in need, particularly widows, mothers of disabled children, or women who are, themselves, disabled. Numbers are currently 23 widows/women and 22 children. Help is given in a variety of ways: either direct financial help, food aid or help to start up a small business. The women gather regularly, with their children, at the Franciscan Friary in Ouagadougou where they are given the opportunity to meet with and talk to the team of volunteers who are administering this fund. Part of the remit of this fund is to ensure that all women and children are given the opportunity to meet socially over a meal in order for them to get to know each other, and therefore to help and support each other. Women who are disabled or who have disabled children very quickly become isolated from the rest of society. Therefore, bringing them together regularly, both in order to receive their aid and also to share in a big meal socially, has been a fantastic way of helping them to feel part of a loving family, accepted and understood, supported and loved.
Providing a refuge
Girls can have little value, other than to be given away to an early marriage. They often run away to seek refuge …
The Baskouré home (above): Young women, particularly from the more isolated villages, are very much at risk from being forced into a marriage too young, often to men much older than themselves. Les Amis funds a refuge to which young women can turn if they feel they have no option but to run away from home. At this refuge they are housed, fed, educated and trained in skills of beer-making, weaving, embroidery, soap-making, raising livestock and growing crops to enable them to make a living for themselves. Some of the girls are very young - too young to learn a trade. We are therefore putting them through school.
St Monique Home
Orphaned girls need help to remain in school
We are paying all the costs for 10 secondary school girls, all of whom have been orphaned of either one or both parents and who are being looked after at the St Monique Home in Gounghin. From time to time we have been asked to help them with basic things such as a fridge, tables and chairs at which to eat their meals, bicycles and a moped. At the moment, they need to repair their kitchen which has been badly damaged by bad weather. Since this project began some of the girls have gone on to university, the costs of which we are also picking up in the hope that the support we have given, and continue to give, will result in the girls achieving their very best potential.
Going on from St Monique’s
Getting help in accessing further education …
Many of the orphaned girls who have spent years at St Monique’s Home would like the opportunity to progress their education by attending university. In 2017 we extended our giving to the St Monique project by giving funds to those girls to enable them to attend university in Ouagadougou and also Koudougou. Being given this opportunity for further education will give them a really fantastic advantage when looking for work in the future.
Primary and Nursery Schools
These schools very often lack the basics …
In the village of Gounghin there is a nursery school and also a primary school. We have been delighted to give funds to each in order to help them supply the very basics. For example, until 2019 the nursery school had no access to water or toilets and we have been able to give them funds for these essential items.
St Joseph’s Training Centre
Being a seamstress is a great career …
In the town of Fada N’Gourma, to the far east of Burkina Faso, we provide funds to provide a home and training (as seamstresses) to young girls who have run away from forced marriages. Training girls as seamstresses is one of the best ways of giving a girl a trade due to the vast majority of dresses and other local outfits being made to measure. From time to time we have been called upon to provide funds for basics such as the provision of beds, the repair of a damaged roof, the building of a toilet and, recently, the building of an atelier from which the girls will be able to work and meet clients.
A much-needed secondary school
A primary school, but no secondary school …
In the town of Manni, to the north east of Burkina Faso, the people of that town and longed and prayed for a secondary school to which to send their children. In February 2015 a direct appeal was made to us to help them achieve their dream. In Burkina Faso a secondary school may be no more than one building with a block of six classrooms, and by February 2016, we had secured the funds and built them their school. It was a day of massive celebration for the people of Manni when the school was opened.
Cows & donkeys!
An easy way to help farmers …
Les Amis has made funds available for the purchasing of livestock. This came about since it came to our attention that a young man with whom Gillie is in regular contact was anxious about his parents. It transpired that the cause of his anxiety was that both of his parents’ cows had died, leaving his parents to plough and work their land by hand in order to feed the family. The loss of crucial livestock is a very serious blow in a land where, averagely speaking, people depend upon the food that they can grow in order to live. Land worked by hand quite simply isn’t going to yield the same amount of food as land worked by cows or donkeys, and this can mean the difference between eating and starving. Given that a fully grown cow or donkey can be prohibitively expensive for farmers, and that both of these animals are critical to the lives and well-being of the people of Burkina Faso, we are delighted by this aspect of the work of Les Amis and to being able to make a difference not only to families, but also communities with the purchase of these animals.
What would they do without them? …
One of the key ways in which we can help young people to access education is to give them the means to get to school. Often the youngsters have to travel many kilometres to get to their nearest school; bicycles are essential for them.
Life is hard …
Life in Burkina Faso is hard anyway, but much harder if you are a widow with children. We love reaching out to individual women to give them a helping hand through the early weeks and months after they have become widows, helping to set them up in business if at all possible.