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Oct 25, 2010

Exciting news for 13 graduates

Thanks to our generous GlobalGiving partners, we are able to continue to provide noon meals to the students of the Lycee Modern de l’Amitie – LMA (the combined middle/secondary school built for rural girls in northern Burkina Faso).

Your donations provide the students of this school a basic noon meal every day they are in school. This contributes immeasurably to their academic success. The following table shows the percentage of students in the LMA, and of all middle school students in northern Burkina Faso, who passed national exams at the end of each year of middle school in order to go on to the next grade. Note that the passing rate for students of the LMA is consistently almost double that of all other schools in the region. The combination of learning conditions (including a noon meal along with high academic standards, committed teachers, parents and students, and small class size) are crucial to this success. (In response to significantly lower scores this year than in previous years, our colleagues in Burkina say that “all of the teachers and actors in the world of education felt like the exams were far more difficult this year than in previous years”. The national pass rate was 32%.)

                                                      2006      2007      2008      2009      2010

Middle/secondary school for girls      71.0      77.18      81.15      79.0      53.84

All students in middle schools          36.26    37.62      41.78      39.83     29.16

in northern Burkina Faso

I am happy to share with you that NEEED (the local organization that runs this project) is implementing a post secondary training/education project this fall for girls who successfully complete secondary school. Thus, at least some of the girls whose noon meals you support in the LMA who successfully complete secondary school will have a chance to receive primary school teacher training, nursing or midwifery training, or a university education. NEEED, with support of its partners, will provide as many scholarships each year as funds allow to these secondary school graduates. Thanks to several generous partners, Friends of Burkina Faso is providing scholarships this year to 13 secondary school graduates: nine (9) girls in primary school teacher training, two (2) girls in diploma nursing training, one (1) girl in State nursing training, and one (1) girl who will attend the University of Ouagadougou and study law.  All of these girls are from rural farming families and ten are orphans.These scholarships will enable the girls to learn a marketable skill needed in Burkina Faso. This means that at least some of these village girls who at age 6 had no hope of an education will now become educators, nurses and a lawyer!

I hope you find your partnership with these girls to be valuable and worthwhile. We realize that the economy is tough, and we thank you for investing your hard-earned money in the hard-working young women in northern Burkina Faso. Please consider telling your friends and family about the Noon Meal project for middle and secondary students in northern Burkina Faso - share the link on your blogs or social networks, use the tell-a-friend feature on the project page to email your network, or just bring us up in conversation. You know your friends and family best, so use your own words - tell them why you chose the Noon Meal Project and what it means to you.

Thank you again for all you have done to support the Noon Meal project, an essential component of the optimal learning conditions that NEEED endeavors to maintain for the middle and secondary school girls of the Lycee Modern de l'Amitie in northern Burkina Faso.

Most sincerely,

Suzanne Plopper 


Mar 12, 2010

Notes of a visitor to the project

Supporters of the Lambs for School Project recently returned from a visit to Burkina Faso and shared the following - slightly edited - account of their visit: The old cliché, “we saved the best for last” captures our recent experience in Burkina Faso perfectly! We traveled for 2 weeks before visiting a school where girls are supported by Friends of Burkina Faso (the Lambs for School Project). The two weeks of travel allowed us to become familiar with the culture, history, natural resources, and the complex needs of West Africa. Three of us visited the primary school in Tilli. The greeting we received upon arrival rivaled any experienced by major dignitaries! The children were encircling the flagpole with teachers and Headmaster. As soon as we got out of the car, they surrounded us with outstretched hands in an overwhelming show of warmth and greeting. My eyes filled with tears --- the emotion cannot be put into words. I could not imagine how they had been prepared to meet us, but clearly they had immediate trust and wanted to welcome us in the most loving way. They quickly resumed their positions around the flag when the Headmaster called to them and as one boy slowly raised the flag, the school community sang the national anthem. It was sung with sincere, solemn, and proud voices. It was very moving. We were asked, by words and gesture, to join the circle where three chairs were readied for us. Many introductions followed including the request that we introduce ourselves. Lacine (NEEED project coordinator) had briefly introduced us as being part of Friends of Burkina Faso and the Lambs for School Project. The 30 girls who were recipients of lambs wore their uniforms which included tee shirts that say Association NEEED on them. More introductions followed with the regional director of primary education speaking briefly about the goals and needs of the schools. Lacine spoke to the needs at Tilli and the schools in general that NEEED supports. I felt a little like an Imposter in view of all the work and contributions that have been generated by your group but I put that aside and said to myself, “”Be a good ambassador for the “real” FBF people”. I was very proud to represent you! Finally the village chief spoke saying, “We have been told that we have friends in the United States, now we see you”. There are no words to describe my feelings at his simple eloquence. Next we were shown classrooms that need to be replaced. They are inadequate in all ways: roof not protective in wind and rain; too small with girls seated 5 to a desk/bench that at best would seat 3; overcrowded requiring some to sit on the floor. The teacher had three blackboards with math and French lessons printed. Water is needed and the water table has dropped drastically within recent years with the average well being 110 feet now. This depth cannot be hand dug which is a big problem. We walked out from the classrooms back into that sweltering Burkina Faso sunlight. A flurry of activity erupted: the girls had brought their lambs to show us! The lambs baa’d and bleated, and for a moment, all I could think of was the nursery rhyme, “Mary had a Little Lamb,” and I began to think that lambs made these “Mary’s” very, very fortunate. The children returned to their classrooms and we were able to share the school supplies that we brought with us, wishing it could have been 500 times more. Again, wordlessly we were moved to yet another location. Imagine our astonishment when we were presented with two live chickens and it was made clear that each of us should hold the chickens high and pose for photos!! Another honor for which there is no equal in my life! Suzanne, the work that Friends of Burkina Faso is doing is so valuable, every effort is so important, and every kindness is so APPRECIATED! You have my utmost respect. Thank you for all of your help in making the connections with NEEED possible. Thanks also for your kind advice about sitting, listening and not asking too many questions. It allowed for the experience to simply unfold. I have said to friends about our visit to the school and the interaction with the people there, “” If a person could have but one experience like this in a lifetime, it would indeed be a very fortunate life.” With warmest regards, Claire

Mar 1, 2010

Thank you for your continued support!

Thanks to your generous support in 2009, the students of the Lycee Modern de l’Amitie (newly combined middle/secondary school for girls in northern Burkina Faso) continue to benefit from a basic but nutritious noon meal at school. A special thanks to everyone who contributed to the Noon Meal Improves Girls’ Learning in Burkina Faso Project 1) through Oprah’s For All Women Registry in October, and 2) during GlobalGiving’s Give More Get More Challenge in November-December. Your generous response during these two events has been critical to our ability to ensure school lunches through the remainder of this school year. The students continue to do very well in their studies. We look forward to posting year-end results in May. The number of students qualifying to attend this school continues to increase. With an anticipated student population of approximately 800 next school year, the cost of school lunches will increase by a third. Your continued support is greatly appreciated by the students of the Lycee Modern de l’Amitie. “There is no tool for development more effective than the education of girls”. Kofi Annon, former U.N. Secretary General.

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