A Motivation that Overcomes Poverty

A Motivation that Overcomes Poverty

By: Paul Henri Kabore, Burkina Faso Communications Specialist   |   Posted: July 01, 2010

Young boy implements skills he learns at Compassion center.
Adama studies at his table at home. He bought the table and  small flashlight with money he earned by selling some of the rabbits he is raising.

Adama was born in 1995 to a poor family in Burkina Faso. His father passed away when he was 3. His mother, who had no job, struggled to take care of Adama, her only child.

Life became even more difficult when she was diagnosed as HIV-positive. Forsaken by his father's family, she and little Adama returned to live with her family of 11.

Every day was a fight to survive in a large family with no steady income.

A Life of Survival

Adama's *mother started doing some gardening, but what she earned was not enough to take care of her child. She started selling clothes at the marketplace. Still, she made only about U.S. 40 cents a day.

In the evening she would return from the market to cook for her and her child, and sometimes for the whole family. Leftovers, if there were any, were eaten the next morning at breakfast.

Life was hard, and the future seemed bleak for the family, especially for Adama. He nearly had to stop attending school because his mother could no longer pay his school fees. And although Adama had uncles who were well off, they refused to provide any support for him or his mother. Adama felt like a motherless child; his mother was willing to take care of him, but she could not.

An Encounter That Transformed a Life

One day in 2006, workers from Compassion's Apostolique Tanghin Child Development Center were out in the community trying to locate a specific child to register. It was the rainy season, and as the rain fell the wind began to blow violently. The center workers were about to go back when they met Adama and his mother in front of the family's house.

The Compassion workers asked Adama's mother if she knew where the child they sought lived. She didn't, but after hearing about the ministry of Compassion and all the benefits for registered children, she begged the workers to register her son. After a screening, the center workers saw that Adama was a child in need and could be registered.

Since that time, the Compassion center has been a great blessing for Adama and his mother.

"I am happy that my child is in the center. He eats there and receives clothes. We also receive food supplies such as rice and millet from time to time," the child's mother says.

Four years after joining Compassion, Adama is now in grade 9. His school fees are paid for by the center, and he has benefited from Compassion's holisitic approach to child development in many ways. He and his mother also receive help through Compassion's Highly Vulnerable Children Fund. They have received food support as well as a seed fund to help her with her gardening and selling clothing at the marketplace.

Preparing Adama to Succeed

Adam's Compassion center also offers Life Skills Learning, where students are taught income-generating skills. Activities include drawing, mechanics, gardening and raising animals. Most registered children take part in the training according to each one's ability. Adama is interested in mechanics.

"Adama is a brilliant student who learns fast," says his mechanics teacher.

In fact, Adama already can fix his own bicycle. He repairs his mother's bicycle and all the other bicycles in the house. This has allowed him to save the money he would otherwise use to mend his bicycle. Beyond saving money, the boy is also learning to generate some.

During a recent visit to Adama's home, the center director discovered a surprise that is a result of Adama's self-initiative.

The Skills to Break the Chains of Poverty

When the director entered the family's home, Adama was out. But he noticed a small hut built with earth and covered with an old metal sheet. There were rabbits inside it. The boy's mother confided that this was her son's property.

Adama had implemented the second course of Life Skills Learning. The boy had asked his mother to buy some rabbits to breed, and today he has about 15 rabbits.

Recently Adama sold some rabbits and used the money to buy a table for his books, a pair of shoes, and a flashlight - items his mother could not afford. Since Adama's house does not have electricity, the family must use flashlights at night to see, or in Adama's case, to study.

Witnessing Adama's dedication to his studies, the center director could not remain indifferent. He bought a better flashlight for Adama to help him study at night. The director is determined to find the means to support Adama and help him improve his enterprise. He is hoping to help Adama build a better rabbit hut and learn selling strategies.

The Outcome of Intervention

The director believes that being part of the center has been a godsend for the child and his mother. Because of the stigmatization Adama's mother is subject to as a result of having HIV, the director wonders if she would still be alive today had she not received care from the center.

Four years ago, before Adama was enrolled in Compassion, he was on the brink of quitting school. Now, thanks to the skills he's learned and the financial support he receives, Adama is a motivated and dedicated teenager, working hard to reach his goals.

*Adama's mother has requested that her name not be used, as she is HIV-positive.

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