Board of Directors

Founders

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Ellie & Abou Koné

President & Vice President

Ellie is from Wisconsin, and Abou is from Karfiguéla, Burkina Faso. They currently live in Wisconsin with their son, Hliiko, and daughter, Fenipi. Ellie works as a Case Worker in the local Child Welfare office. Abou works in production at a local cheese factory, but is an entrepreneur at heart, owning multiple businesses back in Burkina Faso. Sababou is Abou’s dream, to give educational opportunities to his community in Karfiguéla. They have both seen first-hand how difficult it is for kids in Burkina Faso to receive what we in the USA consider a basic right of any child, an education. They want to help give as many kids as possible an opportunity to be whatever they want to be and to have a choice in their future.

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Katie Thompson

Secretary

Katie recently graduated with a Masters in Public Health in Epidemiology and a Certificate in Global Health. She currently works as a Training Logistic Coordinator and Trainer for USAID.  As a Burkina Faso RPCV (2016-2017), she has worked first hand with Burkinabé students. They have goals and dreams for themselves and their futures that shouldn't be hindered by the lack of finances needed to support their education. While education is just a portion of what they need to improve their overall well-being, it is a step in the right direction.

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Jane Bucher

Member at Large

Jane is a public defender for the State of Wisconsin.  She lives in Monroe with her husband, Ruedi, and their two boys, Quinn and Xavier. Prior to law school Jane served as a health education volunteer in the Peace Corps in Senegal. As a Peace Corps volunteer in Senegal she saw first hand how access to education was limited to those people who could afford school fees. A huge portion of students, many of them girls, could not obtain the necessary fees and so would stay home and help with chores despite having a desire to learn. She loved her time in West Africa and she admires the hard work that Ellie and Abou have undertaken to get access to education for children in Burkina Faso.

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Derrick Buffi

Member at Large

Derrick is a Production Manager for a high-end residential painting company. He has a passion for volunteerism and outreach programs both domestically and internationally.  He has volunteered with the Peace Corps in Sierra Leone and Burkina Faso and in the private education sector in Senegal. He has had a unique experience of working with the most disadvantaged and the wealthiest in West Africa over a four and a half year period. He believes that grassroots organizations like Sababou make the largest impact on the lives of students and their ability to stay in school and prosper.

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Virginia Umaña-Sánchez

Member at Large

Virginia currently works as a Clinical Research Coordinator with The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.  She strongly believes that if every child had the opportunity of an education, the world would be a better place. As a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (RPCV Burkina Faso 2016-2017) and as a child of immigrants from El Salvador, she knows that education leads to a better future. Sababou will lead to the success of many children and will give them an opportunity to dream, to set goals, and to achieve a better understanding of life and the world around them.

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Nancy Werren

Treasurer

Nancy has been a Registered Nurse for many years, currently working in the Emergency Department at a local hospital.  Ellie Koné is her daughter, Abou her son-in-law. She and her husband visited Abou's village in Burkina Faso in 2018. She knows how important education is to the hard working people there and she sees how much education can be provided for small dollar amounts. She is excited to help with this endeavor!

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Elizabeth Werren

Member at Large

Elizabeth is a Sign Language Interpreter living in Colorado.  She frequently works in the education setting and sees how much of an impact education can make on someone's life.  She's also seen what scholarships and grants can do for students in the US who wouldn't otherwise have been able to attend college.  While visiting Burkina Faso, she learned about the education disparities that the village of Karfiguéla experiences.  She learned that children in Burkina value their education but are often unable to to go to school because their family cannot afford it.  She believes education is invaluable and should be accessible to all regardless of their socioeconomic status.

Brady Porterfield-Finn

Member at Large

Brady works as the Community Engagement Manager for DSST Montview Middle & High School in Colorado. He lives in Denver with his partner, Bentley, and their two cats, Boris and Bouda. As a Peace Corps Volunteer in Burkina Faso, Brady served as a high school teacher, where he worked with hundreds of Burkinabé students. He sees Education as a powerful tool which can be used to lead the next generation to new opportunities. Brady believes every child deserves to grow and learn in school regardless of their gender or their family's income.