Be the change you want to see
Become a part of our worldwide network and join our founder Katrin Rohde in her mission to help children, women and people with disabilities in Burkina Faso have a better life.
In 1987 our founder Katrin Rohde first came into contact with a group of people from Burkina Faso in her hometown Plön in northern Germany. Through this group, she made her first trip to Burkina Faso. Travelling across West Africa on her own, she became seriously ill. A customs officer and his family took her in and they nursed her back to health. To express her thanks she promised to collect money in Germany to build a school in their village. Having collected the money, she traveled to Burkina Faso a second time to organize and supervise the building of the school. She was fascinated by the country and its people, at the same time shocked by the prevailing poverty, of which the victims are mainly children and young people. Encouraged by the success of the school building project, she returned to Germany and continued raising money for future projects in Burkina Faso.
In 1995 she sold her property and bookshops in Germany to provide capital to set up her own project. She wanted to set up a home for street children in the capital of Burkina Faso, Ouagadougou. Upon arrival there she rented a small house. She drove around town in the Ford Transit she had brought from Germany, looking where street kids were likely to hang out, to get to know them and build up trust. She provided them with medicine and one hot meal a week. Gradually she tried to find homes for some of the young people in families in exchange for financial support. Unfortunately, these arrangements were hardly satisfactory for either party, due to frequent conflicts with the families. This eventually prompted Katrin to take the kids in herself and ultimately there were 18 children and young people living together in 3 rooms for two years.
Katrin tried to obtain permission from the authorities to build a real orphanage and an application was filed to register this project as a charity in Germany, hoping to obtain a grant from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation. The building was completed early 1996 and Katrin Rohde was able to move in with “her” children. The home was officially opened on 29th March 1996. In addition to the 29 children and young people resident there, the orphanage also provided 12 jobs for local residents.
The boys’ orphanage was only the first in a long series of successful projects.
To learn more about ongoing AMPO projects have a look at our Newsletter.