A new school year began on October 3rd in the ABC school in Burkina Faso and students were pleased at resuming their studies. Happier still, if anything, were the 70 new arrivals who look forward to hitting the books and they know exciting times are ahead. First order of business for the students is mastering the French language. Over 70 different languages are spoken in Burkina Faso and it can be quite difficult relating messages in the classroom. In some cases the students speak 5-6 different languages. Gully Jonasdottir, one of two directors of the school, said in an interview that "the teacher has to combine everything so it must be quite difficult in the first and second grade but they manage somehow".

One of the new students, Alassane Konate, is 6 years old and he speaks a native language called Dafing. Of the 17 million residents of Burkina Faso only 135.000 speak the language which is less than 1%. The dialect is only spoken by muslims in the country.

Fewer than 15% of the population use French on a daily basis. But natives want to keep French as the language of instruction and not see their children learn a language at school that they already speak at home.


A lot is going on in the ABC school in Burkina Faso.

A new water pump has been installed and water is flowing from all the taps. Staff and volunteers have been hard at work and, needless to say, this is very good for the school and beneficial to everyone.

It's also nice to note that the Icelandic volunteers brought with them shoes donated by sporting goods stores in Iceland. A lot of the children in school play soccer and basketball. This time the basketball team got to go through them and find a pair that fits. The shoes will be well looked after and stored in the school and used only on practices and game days.


Nazia Saeed is a former student of the ABC school in Farooqabad.

It was in this city that ABC Children's Aid began it's operations in Pakistan in 2005. Nazia grew up in circumstances most of us find difficult to comprehend. She lived in a village which had no school and she had to travel a long and dangerous way if she was to go to one. Her mother is a widow with 7 children in all and she could not afford all the expenses involved.

In one of his visits to poor villages an employee of ABC in Pakistan found out about Nazia and her family's circumstances. As thing turned out Nazia got into the school in Farooqabad and she completed her education there. She then proceeded to finish two years of college education. Today she is working in the accounts office at Machike Boarding school which is also run by ABC in Pakistan. She plans to continue her education and complete a Bachelors Degree.

Nashiba is a seven year old girl who enjoys sponsorship to a school run by ABC Children's Aid in Uganda. She has five siblings and one of them also has a sponsor. Their mother is a widow and she cooks maize and goes door to door trying to sell them to earn some income. It's in no way enough though to meet the basics of the family's needs.

The family lives in a small room and luxuries such as electricity and running water is non existent. The children have to travel some way to fetch water and toilet facilities are shared with five other families living in the area.

Education is fundamental in order to achieve any degree of success and get out of poverty. Nashiba's mother had all but given up on the idea that her children would receive education and she's extremely grateful to her children's sponsors.

Financial support for education gives hope where hopelessness reigns.

The day starts early in Burkina Faso and these days there's a lot of activity in the ABC school in Burkina Faso. School just started again on October 3rd after summer vacation and 70 new students are beginning their studies. Then begins a procedure where photos are taken of the children and they are then registered into the computer system in the hopes they will find a sponsor for their studies. The poverty level in this area from where the children come is extreme. The area is Quenzenville and is located in the city Bobo Dioulasso which has around 500.000 people. There's not enough room at the school for all that are in need but thanks to a lot of hard work from staff and volunteers the area has gotten bigger and more students can enter and study longer. Currently there are over 500 students in the school.

It's difficult to imagine the poverty these children come from. A volunteer from ABC is in Burkina Faso and this is how she describes what she sees; "All the children come from extreme poverty. Families live in huts made out of clay, and sometimes with a little cement, and the roof is made of iron plates. When it rains the poorest of the huts simply collapse. There's no electricity and toilet facilities are a hole outside the hut or simply non existent.  Water is purchased from the nearest bore hole or collected from a dirty river and then carried home. Dinner is cooked outside. Maize sticks and peanuts are grown for the rainy seasons outside the huts or in a small field and that lasts for several months. When that food is gone that's when the grim reality of poverty really sets in. These families are often quite large. When the parents die usually relatives try to attend to the children and a lot of the children in the ABC school are orphans".

These are tough times but optimism reigns in the ABC school thanks to a lot of hard work from staff, volunteers and, last but not least, our wonderful students.


ABC Children's Aid
Vikurhvarf 2
203 Kopavogur | Iceland

Tel +354 414 0990

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