Introducing a Future Minister of Defense for Burkina Faso

Twelve-year-old Fadilatou is one of the top five scholars of her age in all of Burkina Faso. She is the youngest child of the family, with six brothers and sisters. Because of her parents’ hospitality, they have received some of their nephews and nieces, along with their children, so the total number of people in the family is 23.

large family sitting outside

Fadilatou’s father was a driver, but is now too old to work, so he stays at home all day taking care of his grandchildren.

Her mother is a hairdresser and provides food for all the family with her income of less than $2 a day. Sometimes the mother goes to bed without eating, so the rest of the family can share the little food she has gathered.

In 2004 Fadilatou enrolled at the Assemblies of God Patte d’Oie Child Development Center. Her father was not for it because he did not know about the ministry of Compassion, but her mother insisted and convinced him to allow the girl to be part of the program.

Since she joined, Fadilatou has been the top pupil in class. She dreams of going to a military academy next year. “I would like to become minister of defense of the country,” Fadilatou tells her parents.

Her dream started when she joined Compassion and was taken good care of. But the girl’s parents could not believe this might be a realistic dream; they are poor and know no one capable of supporting their child. But since December 2009 Fadilatou’s parents have started believing in her dream.

Every year the Primary School Education Department of Burkina Faso organizes an Excellency contest. In 2009 Fadilatou ranked second in the contest. She received a prize for her performance, but was far from imagining that something greater was coming her way.

A worldwide conference was to be held in Copenhagen, Denmark. The mayor of Ballerup, a municipality of Copenhagen, did not want to leave children out of the event. So he organized a worldwide meeting for children from 10 to 12 years old called “Things Talk: The Creative Climate Camp.”

An invitation was sent by the mayor of Ballerup to the mayor of Ouagadougou to have five children partake in the camp.

The department in charge of the promotion of education was entrusted with the mission to select the five children. They decided to consider the results of the Excellency contest. So they chose the best pupil of each of the five administrative divisions of the capital.

Fadilatou was the top pupil of her administrative division, called Bogodogo, and she was the second at the country level. So, Fadilatou was among the happy five who would have the opportunity of a lifetime to travel abroad in a plane. But this was only true for Fadilatou, who was from a poor family where parents could hardly provide for daily food.

All the four other children were from well-off families. Some even had home teachers who were helping them understand their school lessons. As for Fadilatou, God and her church were her help and support.

For a whole month the top five pupils of the capital city took part in a training session at the craft industry of Ouagadougou. Some professional craft people taught them how to make toys out of cans and other salvaged materials.

The objective of the training was to help the children learn to be active in clearing organic waste out of nature, and transforming waste into functional objects. This to make sure these children would have something to share when they met with the other children of the world.

Young child holding a toy.

The general objective of the camp in Copenhagen was to combine art with the imagination of children to identify innovative methods, actions and teaching about global warming.

As the children were busy getting ready for their trip to Ballerup, Fadilatou was facing a big problem. She did not have a passport. The four other children did not also have passports, but as they were from wealthy families this was not to be a big issue for them.

The mayor of Ouagadougou decided to pay for all passport expenses for the children. But the parents had to pay first and be reimbursed later. Definitely Fadilatou was an outsider; her parents could not find $50 to pre-fund their daughter’s passport.

Fadilatou’s development center was ready to disburse the necessary amount for the child’s passport, but one of Fadilatou’s big brothers, who is a mechanic working in Bobo (360 km from Ouagadougou), decided to give the necessary amount for his little sister’s passport.

Because Fadilatou was from a poor family and seemed not to have someone who could stand for her, she was about to be replaced by another child. The center director worked hard to keep the girl’s name in the list.

December 1 was the departure day. The center staff bought some suitable clothes for Fadilatou and also gave her some pocket money.

At 7 p.m. Fadilatou was at the airport accompanied by her mother and the center director. It was her very first time to enter the airport gates. Her father was so afraid that he could not go with her to the airport. He stayed home asking God to bring his child back safe.

The five children from Burkina and the guide who accompanied them constituted the only African delegation among the 16 countries that effectively took part in the camp.

In Ballerup, Fadilatou and her friends got the opportunity to make various objects from cans and other waste that the population of the city appreciated.

17 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Susan Rodenbaugh Martin June 17, 2010

    beautifully written. This is such an inspiring story of faith and hope. I wish that my 12 yo Farida who lives in BF could hear this. She is first in her class this year and I keep telling her how proud of her God is and me too. Keep up the blogwriting and thank you for all you do. I would love an update too.

  2. Crystlgib April 11, 2010

    Oh Oh Oh this is especially exciting for me as one of my boys attends her center. I am going to donwload the story and send him a copy. I think they will all be encourage to know we rejoice with them.

  3. Ida Kafando March 16, 2010

    What a great story! Im sure God has a great futur for Fadilatou. It is always good to hear how God transforms the life of his children. To him be all the glory.

  4. Holly Morgan March 15, 2010

    What an amazing young woman! I pray that she can achieve her dream. Like the others, I also want to hear more about her trip and see pictures.

  5. Mary Lu Moss March 14, 2010

    I agree with Kees. I want to hear “the rest of the story”! What a great testimony.

  6. susan martin March 14, 2010

    Here I am with tears of joy and warmed heart.May God continue to bless her more and more. Thank you God for giving her hope and a new life in You! I agree with Kees-I want to follow her story and her trip.

  7. Jennifer March 13, 2010

    0utstanding! God is good in so many different ways.

  8. Dorcas Koomson March 12, 2010

    This is practical; hope for the hopless! I belive she will make it in Jesus’ name! Well done, freinds!

  9. Daniel YAMEOGO March 12, 2010

    Great story!
    May God continues to be her help and support.

  10. geri March 12, 2010

    Fantastic story! May God help Fadilatou and all children like her fulfil their dreams. Geri

  11. Kees Boer March 11, 2010


    I would love to see some pictures of her in Denmark and hear how this experience was for her. What was it like to live in a Western society for a certain period of time? How was it coming back? Was that hard to adjust too?

    I would love to see Chapter 2 on this! 🙂

  12. Lisa Miles March 11, 2010

    Thank you for sharing this. It sounds like Fadilatou has had many successes already in her young life. I’m sure there are many more to come.

    I think government is an EXCELLENT place for bright, young, Christian scholars to end up. They are needed!!

  13. Dieudonne Ouedraogo March 11, 2010

    Wonderfull story!
    May god helps Fadilatou to fulfill her goals

  14. Kevin Zongo March 11, 2010

    Who said that miracles’time has gone ?
    I believe that this girl make Ballerup’s trip by migthy God’s finger.
    “It is not costly to dream ,but we need the Lord to help us fulfill our dreams”

  15. Ismael March 11, 2010

    Great story indeed! It’s uplifting and proves that with God, nothing shall be impossible!

  16. Amy Wallace March 11, 2010

    As a student studying military history, I say “Way to go!” She’s going to have a wonderful future.

  17. Juli Jarvis March 11, 2010

    Wow — that’s an amazing story! She’s probably setting her goals too low. She’s going to do even greater things for the Lord, more than she dreams.

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