During my brief visit with the Barka Foundation in Burkina Faso I was able to meet with three individuals closely associated with the organization: Anna, a former translator and administrator, Daniel, a current Board member, and Peace, an enthusiastic supporter and collaborator. Each individual spoke highly of the organization’s founders, Ina and Esu, whose love, dedication, and zeal has been made obvious by their many trips to Burkina Faso and the commitments that have been made by the Barka Foundation.
The Barka Foundation does not have any current projects in Burkina Faso. Instead, the organization is presently involved in a sizeable fundraising campaign from which it hopes to earn enough capital to begin an ambitious series of projects in a small village outside of Fada in Burkina Faso. So, while I was there I was unable to visit any projects and unfortunately I did not visit the site of future projects, at the request of the Foundation, which was understandably concerned that my visit would send mixed messages to the community.
However, I was fortunate to hear about some of the organization’s past endeavors, including a walk for water, a concert, and a film series all of which were hosted by Barka Foundation in collaboration with other organizations in Ouagadougou. Daniel, who helped to organize these events, explained that they were the first of their kind in Ouagadougou and was excited about their success. I was also able to speak with Anna about the ways in which Ina and Esu have worked with the Burkinabe community to identify the needs in their village, particularly clean water and sanitation, in anticipation of future projects.
I’m looking forward to returning to Burkina Faso in the years to come to see the impact that the Barka Foundation has on the ground.
Alexis just recently returned from a month-long visit to West Africa where she visited several GlobalGiving projects. Learn more about her trip at www.itfwa.wordpress.com.
BARKA Foundation would like to thank everyone who rose to the occasion of the Global Giving Open Challenge which earned The BARKA Foundation a permanent spot on GG's web portal. We also wish to express our gratitude to Global Giving for the valuable service they provide. Directly after becoming part of their family, they oriented us to the many services they provide, including this quarterly update to you and everyone who's made a donation to the cause through their site. Last week one of BARKA's photographs was selected as a finalist in the Global Giving's photo competition- thanks to everyone who voted for us!
In other news, BARKA raised almost $8000 through "Peace, Water & Wisdom Walks" with many schools throughout the northeast US. Co-founders Ina & Esu spoke to more than 1000 students in April and May alerting them to the global water crisis, the extreme need in Burkina Faso, and concrete ways to help and get involved. As a result students from 6 schools organized walks for water, a benefit concert, a pizza fundraiser, a hot dog cookout, and donated funds from dress-down day (who knew it cost $1 to wear jeans and t-shirts?!). BARKA is currently searching for donors to match funds raised through all these initiatives.
We still have a way to go before we have raised enough to return to Burkina to implement the project, however this Spring's activities have created a lot of momentum which we think will help attract further funding. Our nose is to the grindstone applying for project grants, creating new strategic partnerships, and searching for new volunteers.
A few last thoughts to leave you with-- Jazz for Peace contacted us about organizing a Benefit Concert for BARKA. This is still in the conceptual stage however there is a great deal of excitement about doing it in Burkina Faso during the International Day of Peace (September 17-21). We'll keep you posted.
All for Africa, a new solidarity partner, has made NYC Marathon spots available to BARKA for fundraising purposes and one intrepid runner, Monique Laurion of Quebec (sister of BARKA volunteer & donor Erika Laurion) has run right up to the starting gate to get her chance to be in the big race. Rumor has it she'll even carry the Burkina flag!
Thank you for your attention and support on so many levels. In a world rife with crisis, we feel blessed to be on this journey to create a culture of peace and provide a sustainable home for the children of the future.
With love and gratitude,
Ina & Esu
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Founder of BARKA foundation