In a country dominated by agriculture, students in Burkina Faso grow up focused on assisting their families in the fields and on their farms. Access to Education is limited, especially for girls, who are expected to heed to household duties or start a family in their adolescence. The barriers preventing all Burkinabé students from accessing quality Education were what led Sababou Education Fund’s founders, Ellie and Abou Koné, to establish the organization. Tuition, materials and transportation are burdensome costs which lead Burkinabé parents often to choose just one of their children to send to school. The rest of the siblings are expected to tend to livestock, crops and other agricultural endeavors which make up more than 80% of the national economy.
Most rural villages like Karfiguéla have an elementary school within walking distance for children to attend. According to UNICEF, more than 75% of elementary-aged children are enrolled in school due to this proximity. There is a severe drop-off once students reach middle school and high school due to schools being located outside of villages and off in bigger cities. Only 18% of boys and 13% of girls middle school aged are enrolled in middle schools across Burkina Faso. These startling statistics contribute to a nationwide literacy rate of 29% among adults compared to 67% in neighboring Ghana.
Students in Karfiguéla must travel at least 5 miles each way to get to middle schools and high schools in nearby Banfora. Most students find themselves walking 10+ miles to and from school as they do not have bikes or the financial ability to ride a bus. At the SEF, we aim to reduce and decrease these barriers which stunt Education and Development.
In 2019, SEF provided funding for 269 students in Karfiguéla to attend school. In 2020, that number grew to 289. This year, the goal is to provide funding to send 350 students to school. At present, SEF has provided funding to cover all elementary school students in Karfiguéla. With increased access to Education there is increased opportunities for families
and communities to develop. Promoting the value of Education and knowledge is the force behind upward development. We at SEF hope that increased access to Education will empower future generations and in return, lead Karfiguéla to become a more financially stable and prosperous community.
*Statistics and information from UNICEF data were used in this article