After watching a documentary on refugee children in war torn Congo, I found myself crying for two hours asking… what can I do? I began to pray about to do, asking how I might be able to make a difference. Then I had a thought to watch a broadcast on http://www.joycemeyer.org/OurMinistries/Broadcast/ and to my surprise, the message was about doing what you can to help those in need. That despite our own problems in life, or fears about not be able to make enough of an impact, we must at least do something. Immediately I started to google different organizations that may not be so widely supported, and I came across Burkina Faso Outreach (BFO) in Burkina Faso, West Africa also an organization supported by Joyce Meyer Ministries. After doing my research on the organization I felt that I was to contribute to the child sponsorship program… I thought about it this way… At the time, I was speanding $25 on a website memebership for services that I didnt even use any more, but had been too lazy to cancel, why not just allocate the money that I was already spending to support a child’s education and living?! Its not much, but its something… and its the least I could do!! So Listen I know every one is like how do you know your money is really going to help the child? Maybe its just a rip off?!
Well first off, I support the ministry that is a large supporter of BFO, so I felt more comfortable that it was the real deal. Secondly, I was luck enough to speak with the founder myself and was really able to get a feel foe what they were doing. And lastly… do you really think a women out of Missouri would travel all the way to West Africa to build schools, teach the word, and work and live in the community JUST to take my $25 a month?! I think not!!!
So here are a few tips for finding your own cause, and if anything I can make it easier for you and offer you to join me in supporting BFO… Im just starting here, there is SOOOO MUCH to be done… but I’m starting here, where I can… BECAUSE WE CAN ALL CONTRIBUTE!
How to find an Organization to support-
- Write down a list of the things that are important to you, things that you wish you could change… no matter how grand
- Write down a list of what you can commit to; how much money, time, your resources and effort that you can give continuously on a regular basis. Not how much you want or wish you could offer… but what can you surely give now.
- Google the topics that you picked in step one. Feel free to pick something near by or far away, but I always like to recommend that you pick a smaller organization that may be under the radar (which might take a little more research to find).
- Pick the top 3 organzations that speak to you the most. Look at each of their options on opportunities to help. Can you sponsor some one with a monthly donation? Do they need you to commit volunteer hours? Will you be mentoring a few times a week? Doing hard labour? Weekly meetings? etc. All these should be compared to your list in step 2. Rember when starting out, focus on what you are sure you can do now… work your way up to how you hope to help after you have consistantlly contributed what you can.
- Once narrowing down which of your top 3 organizations fits best. Do your research on who is invovlved, how long they have been around, and contact them directly by phone or email to follow up with any questions or concerns that you might have.
- Once you have done your research you should feel comfortable with making your comitment…. So go for it!!
- REMEBER … start with what you can do, so you dont let down yourself or the organization. Once you start to see your impact I’m sure that you will start to make more sacrifices and effort to make a huge impact.
Can you imagine what things would be like if we all just did the least of these things!? Please start today! Feel free to check out BFO… Here is some more information on the wonderful organization that I support!!!
All information and media courtesy of http://www.bfoafrica.org/
BURKINA FASO OUTREACH
|Burkina Faso Outreach (BFOAfrica.org) is a non-profit Christian organization founded by Lynn Peters (St. Louis, MO). The organization was created to share the gospel and care for orphans and widows through Education and a Child Sponsorship Program in a small land locked country called Burkina Faso, West Africa.|
Burkina Faso Outreach was created to share the gospel and the love of Christ with orphans and widows through Education, Food and Medical Assistance, and a Child Sponsorship Program.
- SHARING THE GOSPEL with a lost and hurting nation, teaching them of the gift of salvation and the hope that a relationship with Christ brings.
- EDUCATING children and adults in Christian schools, literacy classes and preschool programs, incorporating the gospel. Offering vocational training to youth so that they would be able to provide for themselves and their families in the future.
- FEEDING the hungry individually as they come asking for help and through large food distribution events – another opportunity to share the nourishment of Christ’s Word.
- PROVIDING the means for MEDICAL CARE for the sick who would otherwise be left to die; praying with them and telling them about the one true God who comforts and heals.
Food and Medical Program:
Malaria is said to be the number 1 killer in Burkina Faso followed, of course by AIDS as well as Typhoid Fever, Meningitis and the all-to-common Malnutrition.
However, others come daily looking for help, young and old alike. “We’ve been blessed to be able to help Salam and Alimata with leprosy treatments; reconstructive surgery for teenage boy, Souleyman, whose leg was severely deformed; Assami with plastic surgery and more. We have lost many to any number of diseases, but many have survived; so we will continue to provide the means for medical treatment as long as the Lord continues to provide through faithful supporters.”
Other families simply need help with a sac of grain to get them through until the next harvest. We often experience drought during the anticipated 3-month rainy season. Most families survive harvest to harvest, so a drought inevitably brings famine. We keep corn or millet on hand for that purpose. Give a 20-lb bag of corn, and you can see it in her face – the load that is lifted from her shoulders, the relief. Crying is a sign of weakness in this culture, but we do occasionally see tears from these women who are just overwhelmed with thanks. We pray that they will see Christ reaching out to them – not just the white woman feeling sorry for them.
During the special holidays, many donors like to bless a family with a goat. This is a very special gift as most families do not have the means to eat meat. Or for some, it’s the start of a mini enterprise that will help provide for the family in the future.
With your financial blessings, we can continue to care for the sick and hungry.
Child Sponsorship Program:
We can literally help alter a child’s future by teaching them about Jesus Christ, educating them, making sure they are fed and keeping them healthy.
The Child Sponsorship Program provides necessary aide to extended family members or single parents caring for orphaned children or those identified as vulnerable. In Africa, the definition of “orphan” is any child who has lost one or both of his parents. The vulnerable cases are typically those children who may have both parents, but one is mentally ill or physically handicapped.
Families benefiting from this program are less likely to abandon these children. Once they are abandoned, they live on the streets, end up in an orphanage or are passed from one family member to another. Before submitting a child’s name for sponsorship, we conduct a home visit to verify the facts and understand the severity of the situation. A profile is completed, added to the website, and is now eligible for sponsorship.
Who are the children?
Kids in the preschool that you would help support
Families in Burkina Faso come from all over to register their children for the program. Following registration, a home visit is conducted to verify the validity and severity of the situation. At this time, a profile is completed for the child to be sponsored.
What Does It Cost and How Much Goes To The Child?
The cost to sponsor a child is just $25 per month per child and is allocated as follows:
10% State-side Administrative Costs
90% Program funds, wired to Burkina
How will the program funds be allocated?
As mentioned, ten percent of all monthly support and contributions will be allocated to cover state-side administrative costs.
The remaining 90% will be wired to Burkina Faso for the following:
- Food Assistance at a quarterly food distribution. The child and caregiver come to us with a donkey and cart and leave with a bag of grain as well as other supplies as needed – oil or other condiments necessary for cooking, soap, possibly a new sleeping mat or oil lamp for studying, new shoes, clothes, etc. These expenses vary, but will average approximately $40/child/quarter.
- Educational fees and supplies are provided for those who are in school. Those who are not in school will be encouraged to participate in one of our literacy classes or a preschool program.
- Several children, for various reasons, do not attend school. These cases are handled individually. We will talk with them about their skills and interests and help to implement plans for a viable future – i.e. identifying a way for them to learn a new skill such as apprenticing with a tailor or working alongside a mechanic or iron worker.
- Medical Care is provided, thus lives are saved!
- Malaria, the #1 killer in Burkina, is as common as the common cold; and often the easiest and least expensive to treat. We also see AIDS, Typhoid Fever, and Meningitis on a regular basis. We will distribute meds per doctor’s orders and pay for hospitalization as needed.
- In addition, we have provided the means for several surgeries, and transportation to eye, ear and heart specialists in the capital city.
- Miscellaneous care is provided as needed for the welfare of the child. In the past, this has included rebuilding a family’s home; a courtyard wall that had fallen; bike repairs for kids using them as transportation to school.
- Quarterly home visits are conducted and the children are invited to participate in other activities. Local employees are being trained as leaders to conduct these home visits as well as host “Teen Nights” and other social activities.
- As a Christian organization, we look for opportunities to share Christ with these kids in all we do, be it the home visits, the teen nights, etc. A bag of corn can sustain them for a month, but a relationship with Christ will sustain them for eternity!
How Can I Sponsor A Child?
- Scroll through the photos/profiles of children waiting for sponsors .
- Send Lynn an email at Lynn@bfoafrica.org with name, billing/mailing address and the name/ID number of the child you would like to sponsor or specify if you would like us to choose for you
- Once the first monthly payment is made, the child/family will be notified and the program begins
Soon after, you’ll receive the photo and child profile in the mail along with payment information to get you started.
How long am I committed to sponsoring a child?
You may commit to as much time as you are able. If at any time, you find you are no longer able to sponsor a child, simply let us know and we will reassign him/her to a new sponsor. It can take time to find a new sponsor, so we appreciate advance notice if at all possible.
The children will typically be eligible for the program through 18 years of age; but each case will be evaluated individually.
If no payments are received after 2 months, we will attempt to contact you. If, after 3 months, we have not been able to make contact, we will automatically reassign the child so that we can continue to provide care to each sponsored child.
Can I Send A Gift And/Or Letter To My Child?
You are welcome and encouraged to write to your child. We will also encourage the children to write to their sponsors. Many sponsors don’t write because they don’t know what to say; but honestly, the child is more excited about the fact that he received a letter from his sponsor than he is about what you have to say. And, they absolutely love photos of anything from family and pets to a glimpse of America. (One child received a photo of someone taken on a parking lot. He and his friends had a big conversation about the parking lots in America!)
If you’d like to send a gift to your child:
SENDING GIFTS TO YOUR SPONSORED CHILD
Many people ask, and the answer is “yes”, you are welcome to send gifts to your sponsored child. We want to encourage you to develop a personal relationship with your child. However, please understand – your monthly support is already a huge blessing, so we do not want anyone to feel pressured to do more. With your monthly support, we are able to meet their basic needs as well as add special gifts such as new shoes, a new outfit, sometimes a soccer ball, and other special items.
That said, there are 2 ways to send an extra gift to your child.
You may want to include an additional amount with your monthly support and designate it to purchase a special gift. Once received, our staff in Burkina Faso will purchase a gift and present it to your child. We often invite several children who are to receive gifts to a special party where we have activities planned, have a snack, present the gift and take a photo.
The following are some ideas of gifts we could purchase as well as the average cost (prices vary by season). However not all gifts are appropriate for each child; so if you have something specific in mind, it’s best to send Lynn an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss. For example, goats are a great gift, but many families do not have the means to raise a goat. Bikes also are a tremendous blessing but only for the older children as children’s bikes are not available.
|Bucket of Supplies||$5-20|
|100 lb. of Grain||$35|
- You may prefer to shop for your child yourself or with your family. If so, we must warn you Shipping Is Very Expensive (approximately $6/pound), so think lightweight. Remember, these children have nothing; so keep it simple and they’ll be thrilled. Suggestions that are a guaranteed hit:
- Cheap jewelry
- Candy, snacks
- Color book and crayons
- Colorful pen
- T-shirt, underwear
- Baseball Cap
- Photos (they love photos of their sponsor and anything that gives them a glimpse of America)
Ship items via Air Mail to Lynn’s address. Packages can take up to 3 months to arrive in Burkina.
Burkina Faso Outreach
B.P. 184, Yako
Burkina Faso, West Africa