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What Does Child Sponsorship Mean in Burkina Faso?
Posted By Paul Henri Kabore On February 15, 2010 @ 1:55 am In Country Staff | 18 Comments
Pastor Korogo has been a pastor since 2002. He officiates as junior pastor in the central church of the Assemblies of God Church of Ziniaré, 30 kilometers from Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso.
In 2008, when the church began partnering with Compassion, Pastor Korogo was recruited as child development center director because of his long-standing experience in the ministry among the children of his church.
The development center has 220 registered children who take part regularly in center activities. Like all the other centers in the country, it is located in an area where poverty is visible in people’s daily lives.
The great majority of the population does not have access to drinking water or electricity. When someone in these families falls ill, he is cared for with indigenous methods, as families can’t afford medical care or drugs at the pharmacy.
The child development center is located in a community that is nearly 70 percent Islamic. The largest mosque in the city is 10 meters from the church that shelters the center. This proximity sometimes makes it difficult for Muslim children to effectively take part in the center activities.
“Several parents withdrew their children from the center because they were convinced by their religious leaders that the objective of the center was to convert their children to Christianity. What these parents were afraid of was that their children would be taken away by the church.” — Pastor Korogo
The center workers continue to take care of the children who come to the church on Thursdays. The radical change in the lives of these little ones has convinced more than one parent of the great opportunity their children have in coming to the center.
As a result, the Muslim community lives in harmony with the Christian community. Today, more than 70 percent of the children registered at the center are from Muslim families who still encourage the children to persevere in their participation in the activities.
This happy situation is largely the result of the frank relationship of love that exists between the children and their sponsors. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to imagine the joy that fills a child and his family when the child receives a personal letter written from abroad.
In nearly all families, these letters are preciously kept and shown to the important visitors, demonstrating the pride the family has in being known beyond the borders of the country. This restores the image of the whole family, even if this family was “watched out of the corner of the eye” by members of the community.
When a child does not receive letters, the relationship is weakened a little. So the relationship must be dynamic. Letter writing establishes the relationship with the sponsored child. It makes it possible for the child to communicate with an adult, and like any child, this gift is seen as a sign of very strong love.
But the height of joy for a family is, without any doubt, to be visited by their child’s sponsor. This constitutes the highest honor, and helps fulfill the hope that they get to know each other deeply. The sponsor also sees the child’s daily life and notes the differences that sponsorship has made.
Pastor Kogoro hopes that if the sponsor takes this step to visit, it will not only further encourage the sponsor and child, but the sponsor will be convinced of the salvation brought to the child, who in his turn will know for certain the true love expressed by his sponsor.
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