HELLO TO EVERYONE! This has been a fantastic time for us all! We have completed the requests of our 43 villages for mills to grind grain, reparation of closed wells bringing clean water, solar panels in local schools, fencing for women’s garden projects etc.
AND we are proud of making possible 2300 birth certificates which are essential in the life of every student, every citizen...and we are planning to make possible many more plus an important campaign to encourage every parent to register their children at birth. We are now asking each of the 43 villages in the 2 communities for their next requests.
The first of our 80 students whom with your sponsorships have been able to go for 4 years to “middle school” have graduated. Some with spectacular results: being 1st or 2nd in their huge classes of more than 80. Some are now going to take exams to enter into government work, while others will have a choice of work.
Some, especially those with the highest grades are going on to high school (lycée) and perhaps to university. One of our students has ranked first in the entire province! We are very proud of our students and very grateful to you all who have made this possible for them. AND... we very much hope more of you will become sponsors!! Please let us know!!!
BUT this is only part of the story. The PARENTS of our students in each commune, KORDIE and SAMBA formed associations from the very beginnings. They proposed and themselves built 2 community centres and 2 libraries! (Fitil added the roof, doors, windows etc.) They comprise 2 very active groups many of whom continue to work with us even though their children have now graduated. In October we had the GRAND OPENINGS of both centres, each attended by more than 300 people and included the local administration. Music, traditional dance, speeches and food and drink for all provided by the parents groups made for a wonderful day! The CENTRES provide space for meetings, classes in everything from requests from the community to agriculture, civics, women, language, theatre, dance, art workshops, documentaries, cinema, sport and lots else. . The LIBRARIES are running with 2 trained librarians. We had begun with books suggested by the teachers and students, but now we are expecting a shipment of 2,600 new French books of many sorts from scholastic to fiction, graphic novels and much more for adults and children, all thanks to the St. Paul, Minnesota organization Books For Africa, which is the world’s largest shipper of donated books to Africa, shipping 42 million books since 1988 and serving every country in Africa. We want to give them all a huge Thank you. This gift will change the life of these communities.
In October a journalist, Patricia Thomas from Associated Press in Rome came to Burkina for 8 days and wrote several articles about her visit. You can find one of them on her blog www.mozzarellamamma.com.
Patricia also shot some videos, on the right hand side.
With her, there was also a photographer, Chris Ward-Jones, who took many marvelous photographs which he has put at our disposal. We plan to do several shows of his work at museums and galleries in Rome. We have also had a volunteer, Jennifer Cody for 2 months who has been very helpful in many things including setting up various classes in the Centres. I could go on and on… but will keep the rest for next April when I get back from my next trip to Burkina. I want to thank all of you who contribute to our projects and so make all these exciting things possible… AND also to urge others of you to join in and help our work. We have so many interesting requests to expand our work... but that depends on all of you.
SO…thank you all.!! Until the next time.Bettie Petith, Angela Rosati
In the past years we have been contacted by 4 women's groups and have been working with 3 of them. Our first contacts and interactions seemed strong but over time none of the three of them have lived up to their initial promise. This year we have talked in depth to them all and they have told us various difficulties which range from having a dynamic leader go to study in Ouagadougou leaving them with no one who was literate to having grand ideas but in the end no firm abilities of how to translate them into realities. ACLEM (Fitil's partner in Burkina) has now appointed an educated woman from the community to work as trouble shooter with each group, helping them to find solutions and to realise their initial plans.
We are continuing to work with Action Sociale on their project with women accused of being witches (Mangeuses d'ames) These women are accused and after various “tests” exiled from their villages under the worst possible conditions. They often make their way to various Catholic refuges in the biggest cities. Action Sociale has been running a campaign for more than a year to educate the village populations against this brutal practice. They have had some success but have also met with strong opposition in some villages. This year they are begining to create centres where these women can go and be reintroduced to a normal type of life and a means of supporting themselves. A personal friend of mine was accused more than a year ago, though the village has now changed their idea and asked her to come back. She has refused and FITIL/ACLEM is helping her begin a new life by putting doors and windows and a roof in the house her brother has built for her..also lending her money to begin a small business enterprise.
In late Febrary of 2018, Mary Angela Schroth, director of the Gallery Sala Uno of Rome, organised for the second time a show and auction of artists works to be sold for the benefit of FITIL/ACLEM!. 43 artist participated and Mary Angela organised fabulous opening and closing events. A great success with many wonderful artists participating. A big, big thank you to them all. These are only some highlights of what we have been doing. If you have any questions or comments, we would love to hear from you.