Support a Center for Young Women and Expectant Mothers in Burkina Faso
Project Code: 125-07-49
In Burkina Faso, women have a very low social position. Only 14% can even read or write, and the number of girls and young women bringing up one or more children alone is on the increase. Media influence has led to an increase in sexual promiscuity, and when a girl does get pregnant, the young father is often unwilling to take responsibility for the child. To make matters worse, more often than not, the parents will not support or help the girl either. Instead, most are likely to kick the girl out of the house, often on the pretext of the traditional belief that it will bring misfortune on the family if a daughter gives birth in the house of her parents.
Many girls attempt to abort their child somehow or other, risking their own lives in the attempt. Others give birth, but then leave the child somewhere on a street corner. Others again attempt to get by as best they can with their child, but they then fall into prostitution, simply in order to survive. As a result, the vicious spiral continues, since many get infected with HIV which only makes their lives more miserable. It is common for such young women to quickly become pregnant again, making their lives more difficult.
In Dedougou, the Catholic Church has set up a center for pregnant girls and young mothers, where they can be taken in and given every care and support. They receive not only practical, material and pastoral help, but at the same time they can get vocational training and acquire a useful skill.
Elodie is one such young mother whose story has ended well. At the age of 17, she was married by her strictly Muslim family to a much older man whom she did not know and who already had several wives. She had no other choice, since otherwise she would have been thrown out by her family. The two months following her wedding were a living hell for her, and she decided to run away. She managed to find her way to the capital, nearly a hundred miles away, but she knew absolutely no one there.
Spontaneously the idea came to her mind to seek shelter with the Catholic nuns there, who lovingly took her in. They quickly noticed that Elodie was pregnant and put her in touch with the “Carmen Kisito” center in Dedougou.
"I harbored great hatred in my heart towards my family and towards the man I had been forced to marry. I wanted never to see them again. I also felt unable to accept my daughter, Djami, since in my eyes she was responsible for my misfortune. But the more I came to know Jesus, the more I realized that I had to forgive them all.”
“After a three-year long journey, I was preparing to receive Baptism at Easter. I was full of joy at the thought that God would forgive me all my sins and renew me. It was then that I realized that I must also forgive all those who had harmed me. Hatred and revenge could no longer have any place in my life. In my heart I forgave them, therefore. My Baptism was a moment of immense joy for me. I was immersed in a joy that I had never known before and there was a sense of deep peace in my heart."
After her baptism, Elodie went to visit her family to be reconciled with them. "It was not easy for me, but rather an inner struggle. But through the grace of God I was able to meet them. My father was both astonished and very happy to see his daughter again after almost 5 years, and the reconciliation with my family took place in great joy." Today, Elodie is able to stand on her own two feet. She has trained as a hairdresser and now earns enough to support herself and her little daughter.
ACN has been supporting the work of this center, and is doing so again this year with a grant of $27,300. Will you give to support young women and expectant mothers in Burkina Faso?
Aid to the Church in Need commits to invest your funds where they will have the greatest impact for the Church that we serve. Funds donated to Aid to the Church in Need’s projects will be used towards the greatest need in our programs to help keep the Faith alive.
to Projects in Need