Vocational School Build

giving tools to escape poverty

Giving Tuesday is December 1, 2020

Help us launch a vocational school in Burkina Faso!

Support programs in masonry, weaving, and sewing

giving youth and adults the skills they need to provide for their families and escape poverty.
Learn more
Our goal


We have great momentum! With your help, we can launch this school.

Six reasons to support this project

1. A local community project

This initiative is a vision of the local community and will be operated completely by local teachers and administrators under the leadership of the local church. This means every element gives back to the local economy. The school will operate as an outreach of the Gampela Christian Education Centre.

2. Creating sustainable local industry

While many in the rural Gampela region make a living through farming, all of the land in the area is in use, and youth or non-land owners must primarily collect gravel or firewood (making charcoal) to sell. Yet, there is local demand and good income potential for those with skilled labour in sewing, weaving, and masonry - demand through small businesses, factories, as well as from the sprawling city of Ouagadougou.

3. university isn't for everyone

Getting into grade 10 is difficult in Burkina Faso due to a strict bell-curved exam. Few as 30% will pass across across the country, and while Gampela students sometimes double pass rates, not all students will be able to pursue higher education. Data indicates about 1% of those aged 15-24 have reached post-secondary school in Burkina Faso. Trade school is an important alternative, and for many young people, it is where their interests lie.

4. Professional jobs are limited

While formal education can lead to a job in a particular profession or with the government, some well educated individuals cannot find work. When the rural Gampela Centre posted a job for an accountant, they received 53 applications. When the government posts a handful of positions, people will sleep overnight in line for the opportunity to submit their application in the morning.

5. Prevent addictions and violent activity

Pastor John Tandamba, director of the Gampela Centre, has witnessed many young people without work turning to life on the streets, falling into drugs or even joining violent groups because of the promise of money. A skilled trade can offer a path of hope to a young person without work, and reduces the allure of illegal activity.

6. Discipleship for youth

In a community with limited Christian discipleship opportunities, vocational training students will hear from teachers and guest speakers about the transformational power of a relationship with Christ, and will be given opportunities to ask questions and develop their personal awareness of God's voice in their lives.

Project Details

The Dream of the Gampela Centre is a vocational training school across several streams. Planned trades include:

  • sewing (making clothing);
  • weaving, (constructing fabrics from threads);
  • masonry (building structures with bricks, cement and other materials);
  • electrical training (connections and repairs, including solar for rural homes);
  • and welding (constructing windows, doors, and other products out of metal).

When the school is fully operational, we plan to enrol 80 students every year across the trades!

Photo of the Gampela Centre from 2018. Four additional classrooms have been built subsequent to this photo.

Phase One

includes sewing, weaving, and masonry programs.

Phase Two

includes electrical and welding programs.
The total cost to launch phase 1 of this project is an estimated $148,500. This includes the construction of a building with two large classrooms sufficient to accommodate both theoretical and practical training for sewing, weaving, and masonry. This also includes the cost of all technical equipment and teaching materials including dozens of essential items such as looms for weaving and a cement mixer for masonry, and the cost of the school's operations for 2021 and 2022, which includes the teachers!

Young adults participating in the sewing program

This vocational school can change their future (pictured: students at the Gampela School)

Thanks to three years in the sewing program, John has started his own business. He has been able to purchase land and a motorcycle, and has even built his own shop! These skills have changed his life.

Local Support for this project

From the Local Government

Burkina Faso is indeed one of the poorest countries in Africa, yet projects like this can make a real and lasting impact on a poor community. A chief in Gampela's local government recently spoke about the impact the school has had – now serving over 700 children across pre-school, primary school, and middle school. "When the Center came to Gampela, we didn’t have a school nearby for our children. Today almost all of our children are attending the school. You are making a direct impact on our people." (Naaba Tigre, Chief of Goding, Gampela)

“We are on the outskirt of the City, Ougadougou, which is rapidly expanding. If it continues to grow, and if we don’t have the skills necessary to integrate, the City will eat us alive. We will have to move – leave our home village! But if young people are given a trade, they will be equipped.”

Naaba Tigre, Chief of Goding, Gampela

“A skills training centre will greatly help our community... Some masons have no documentation and are building homes.”

Ouedraogo Kouka Pierre, municipal counsellor in Gampela

From the Local Graduates

For several years, Pastor John Tandamba, Director of the Gampela Centre, and his wife, Louise, ran a sewing program out of their garage. Today, that program uses the school’s storage room as a temporary classroom.

“I attended the Gampela Centre sewing class. Before I started sewing, I wasn’t doing anything. When I started sewing, I loved it. I persevered and I have become a small business owner. It has helped me a lot.”

Safiatou, sewing program graduate

“I have been trained to sew at the Gampela Centre. I have spent three years in the training program. Now I work for myself. Through sewing, I have achieved many things. I have bought land for a building, built a shop, and purchased a motorcycle [from my sewing income].”

John, sewing program graduate
Ouaga was in grade 8 when her father died.

“I decided to come and learn sewing so that I can help meet the needs of my family - especially my younger sisters. After my training, I decided I will open my own shop. I would like to have my own business... Thank you!"

Ouaga, current sewing student