In the small village of Gourcy in the northern part of Burkina Faso, we have established a farming cooperative, funded construction of a mill and a garden, we are drilling wells, we run a tailoring school, teach the locals to read, write and count. We do it to give jobs to several dozen families living under harsh, almost desert-like conditions. We are struggling with effects of climate changes, doing our best to make sure the inhabitants are not forced to leave their homeland.
How do we multiply good in Gourcy?
Several years ago, we started to help the inhabitants of Gourcy, teaching them entrepreneurship and providing them with the tools necessary to let them multiply the good that we have entrusted with them. It all began with a simple starting package. Ten families, chosen by our missionary Małgosia Tomaszewska, received breeding animals from us, for which we also built enclosures. Our protégés also got seeds and tools to cultivate their land – with an instruction that good was to be multiplied. The task was simple. After one year, every family was supposed to share what they got from us with another family in need. Everything above that – everything that was made in the fields and at the farms – was the pure profit of each family. Today, there are several dozen families participating in the project, and we have a reason to be proud. Our project is working, and good is being multiplied in this small village.
The second important undertaking in Gourcy is creation of jobs. We have provided a mill where we mill cereals from the fields of our families, providing them with food and with a chance of earning more by selling flour of good quality and not just grain.
For those who are unable to work physically in the fields, we have rented a room and purchased sewing machines. Over fifty women are learning the craft from the best tailors of Wagadugu, the country’s capital, whom we bring in for classes at our new atelier once a week. For these women, the three-year course is a dream come true, and a possibility to grab a job opportunity on the labor market.
Reading and writing course
Over fifty ladies, who – thanks to you – are attending a vocational course, have other classes as well. Three times a week, for 5 hours, we teach them to read and count. These women have already mastered the basics of tailoring. To go to another level, they need to overcome some obstacles, and isn’t it what we specialize in? 62% of inhabitants of Burkina Faso above 15 years of age cannot read or write. We have given some of our protégés the first opportunity in their lives to write letters. To be a tailor, you need to take measurements, write them down, count, use a tape measure. Therefore we have launched a language course. Our students work very hard, because they know very well that the knowledge we share with them is more valuable than gold, and useful not only in tailoring.
In Burkina Faso, we provide our protégés with new opportunities, teaching them entrepreneurship, developing small businesses and transferring skills. For the inhabitants of Gourcy, this is really more than fulfilling their dreams.
We have effectively reclaimed a piece of the desert (3 hectares), drilled eight wells, including two deep wells, and installed a modern, solar-powered irrigation system. The plants are growing, and several dozen families have jobs, money to make a living and hope, they can live in their homeland and be independent. Our protégés experiment with new crops, they learn farming under harsh, almost desert-like conditions, they contribute to enrichment of the diet of other inhabitants – in a word, they do their best, taking advantage of the chance that they have been offered.