Engaging the Community

Adam Helmers Burkina Faso, Gampela Centre, Stories

A young

father named Jonas was  hired part-time last year to coordinate the lunch-time food program for primary students. As many of the students come to school hungry, the lunch program is important for the childrens' nutrition and capacity to learn.

Recently, given the need, the food program has been expanded to those in grades 6 to 9 as well. Support is needed to keep this food programs running for the students. Jonas has also been able to perform BMI assessments on the students to identify malnourishment concerns so that the identified children may be given the additional attention they require.

In addition to coordinating food, Jonas has also started running hygiene training seminars for the children and their teachers. So far the seminars have been resounding success. The first seminar was attended by a classroom full of teachers and students. These seminars will continue to be offered, while the centre also has informative hygiene posters around the property.

Guys playing soccer at the Gampela Church

There always seems to be a large number of activities at Gampela, keeping the community engaged, and offering the students a wide variety of experiences and life lessons. For example, in the spring term, the school held a cultural appreciation day, a volunteer day where the students helped clean Gampela's medical clinic for the broader community, an Easter celebration, a field trip, and a birthday celebration for all of the students as most students cannot afford to celebrate their birthday!

The Gampela Church has also been reaching out to the community through sporting activities. On May 16th, a fun but serious game of soccer was organized between the grade 8’s and grade 10’s (grade 8’s won!) Events like these are providing the children and youth with team-building skills and a sense of community service.

It is this holistic care, embodied in dedicated teachers and staff, that has lead the Gampela school to achieve admittance rates into high school (grade 10) at almost double the rate of the average middle school. Admittance into grade 10 is based on a students results on a national exam that is graded on a strict curve. This is a very impressive result for a school in an impoverished rural community.

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