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Project of the Week: Practical Help for Refugees in Burkina Faso

ACN Success Story: Radios, solar lamps and memory sticks with recorded lessons for 800 refugee families

Life in northern and eastern Burkina Faso has been virtually paralyzed by terrorism and the resulting critical security situation. The threat of Islamist terrorism is on the increase, with jihadists wanting to establish an Islamic caliphate in the region. Since 2019, nearly one million people have been uprooted from their homes. The few remaining villages still inhabited are now home to thousands of internally displaced refugees. Over a thousand schools have been closed or destroyed, children and young people are at constant risk of being abducted and forcibly recruited as child soldiers. The situation of security in the region has degraded so far that parishes are deserted, priests and catechists can no longer travel, unless they are willing to risk their lives.

An elderly person listening to the teaching.

The Crucial Role of Radio in Daily Life

Radio is the most important means of communication in this region. Already prior to the current crisis it was a necessity because most people cannot read or write and even those who can read—only rarely get access to books, being too expensive and difficult to obtain. This is the second-poorest region in the country. The average monthly income is roughly 75 to 81 Canadian dollars, on average. Therefore, all communications—whether in the areas of development, education, reconciliation work or healthcare advice—are transmitted by radio. Especially now, when an escalating violence means that so many schools and parishes must close and the situation brought on by the pandemic is still a factor today. Now we see how radio plays an even more important role in people’s daily lives.

Msgr. Justin Kientega giving the equipment to the faithful and priests.

Eight hundred Catholic refugee families who were forced to flee their homes to avoid jihadist attacks, have had some security restored to daily life.   Each displaced family has received a radio, a solar lamp, and a USB memory stick with pre-recorded catechetical and educational units for school-age children.

These families have lost everything. In many cases they have been cut off from the life of the Church and from accessing regular schooling for their children. Your help of 36,000 dollars, or 45 dollars per family—has made a dramatic difference for them, helping to reduce their sense of isolation and drawing them closer to the important experiences in Church and in school.

Our heartfelt thanks to all our generous benefactors!

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