Forgot your login info?
First time logging in?
Set up your online account
Homelessness. Medical emergencies. Natural disaster. Your donation helps children when they need it most..
Burkina Faso is home to majestic national parks and captivating wildlife. It is also home to families who struggle to find food and stay healthy. Compassion-assisted children experience these realities daily. But at the Compassion center, there is hope.
19YEARS SERVING BURKINA FASO
A child walks her three goats while carrying her little brother on her back.
Through hard work, a girl in Compassion’s program plays soccer on the Burkina Faso women’s national team.
Children play on a slide outside their child development center.
Children raise their hands to answer a question in class.
A young girl stands smiling in front of a bright wall.
Women carry large bowls of milk on their heads to sell at the market.
Young children smile while holding Christmas gifts.
Little boys read their first Bibles together.
A mother carries her young child on her back as she sells vegetables to generate income for her family.
A girl smiles while leaning against a tree in her neighborhood.
Issue: In Burkina Faso, only 33% of the population is literate. Adults who cannot read or write find it difficult to excel professionally, which makes escaping poverty almost impossible. Children desperately need an education so they can steer their country in a better direction.
Response: Children receive after-school tutoring at the center. For teens, the center offers training in mechanics, hairdressing, sewing, gardening and animal breeding. If children want to learn new income-generating skills, Compassion staff members make every effort to provide training.
Prayer Point: Pray for the children in Burkina Faso — that they would rise above their current reality by implementing the life-altering skills they are learning through Compassion.
Beneficiaries learn skills and gain education to help them thrive.
Visit the Compassion blog to learn more about our work in Burkina Faso.
Burkina Faso has many different types of terrain. The north part of the country is covered in desert, while the southwest is woodland and savanna.
Showing – of children
Sorry, there was a problem retrieving the children for this page. Please try again.
Sorry, there were no children found. Please use the search form to find a child to sponsor.
Show more search options (child name, with disability and more)
Show fewer search options
Official Name: Burkina Faso
Form of Government: Presidential republic
Official Languages: French
Currency: West African CFA Franc
Area: 105,869 square miles (274,200 square kilometers)
Until the end of the 19th century, the history of Burkina Faso was dominated by the empire-building Mossi. The French arrived and claimed the area in 1896, but Mossi resistance ended only with the capture of their capital, Ouagadougou in 1901. The colony of Upper Volta was established in 1919, but it was dismantled and reconstituted several times until the present borders were recognized in 1947.
The French administered the area indirectly through Mossi authorities until independence was achieved on Aug. 5, 1960. The first president, Maurice Yameogo, amended the constitution soon after taking office to ban opposition political parties. His government lasted until 1966, when the first of several military coups placed Lt. Col. Sangoule Lamizana at the head of a government of senior army officers. Lamizana remained in power throughout the 1970s, as president of military and then elected governments.
Repeated military coups during the 1970s and 1980s were followed by multiparty elections in the early 1990s. In 1984, Upper Volta changed its name to Burkina Faso, meaning "the country of honorable people."
Burkina Faso's high population density and limited natural resources result in poor economic prospects for the majority of its citizens. Recent unrest in Cote d'Ivoire and northern Ghana has hindered the ability of several hundred thousand seasonal Burkinabé farm workers to find employment in neighboring countries.
Source: The World Factbook, 2014
Burkina Faso has more than 60 ethnic groups, each with their own social and cultural distinctions. Art made by the Mossi, Bobo and Lobi are the most famous. The Mossi are known for their antelope masks; the Bobo make large butterfly masks; and the Lobi carve wood. Burkina Faso is a leader in African art and culture and hosts the largest craft market in Africa.
Burkina Faso is home to 60 different ethnic groups, each with their own variety of folk music. Unlike most African countries, Burkina Faso has not yet had a popular national style. The Semaine Nationale de la Culture, held every two years since 1983, is a music festival that has helped produce the country's few stars, including Kaboré Roger, Simporé Maurice and Black So Man.
The Mande people of the southwest are known for balafon (xylophone) music, while the large, centrally located Mossi and their griots retain ancient royal courts and courtly music. The Fulbe of the north use complex vocal techniques with clapping percussion.
Because of the diversity of ethnic groups in Burkina Faso, many cultural practices are observed. One of the most important and widespread customs is Rakiire (cross-ethnic joking).
French: Bonjour (Hello), Au revoir (Goodbye), Comment-allez vous? (How are you?), Je vais bien, merci. (I'm fine, thank you.)
Mossi: Yamb kibaré? (How are you?), Laafi bala, La yamba? (I'm fine, and you?)
Sports & Games
Soccer, handball, cycling, basketball and boxing are popular in Burkina Faso.
Most food in Burkina Faso comes with sauce. Staple foods are sorghum, millet, rice, maize, peanuts, potatoes, beans, yams and okra. Meat is not eaten often in the villages. Instead, villagers eat eggs and fish. Some fresh vegetables and fruits are available in towns.
The school week runs from Monday through Saturday. Public education is not free and many children's parents cannot afford to send them. There also is a shortage of schools in the country and even those who can afford to send their children may not be able to. According to UNICEF, only 81 percent of students reach the fifth grade.
However, education is very important for the people of Burkina Faso; it is seen as the only vehicle out of poverty. Parents believe that education is the key to a well-paying job and therefore a better future. In Burkina Faso the educated are held in high regard. An educated child has a strong influence in the community and whatever he or she says is accepted and believed compared with a non-educated person's words. Education has strongly contributed to the well-being of the people and the nation.
In the recent past, boys had an edge over girls in their ability to obtain an education. But recently, the government policy has been to raise the rate of education for girls. There now tends to be a gender balance regarding who has access to education. Through both formal and non-formal education, all are taught to be respectful, polite, obedient, courageous and hard workers. Responsibility, family values and dignity are emphasized.
The constitution provides for freedom of religion and the government does not tolerate its abuse. Islam, Christianity and traditional indigenous religions are practiced freely without government interference. There is no official state religion and the government neither subsidizes nor favors any particular religion. The practice of a particular faith is not known to entail any advantage or disadvantage in the political arena, the civil service, the military or the private sector.
The law provides religious groups freedom of expression in their publications and broadcasts unless the judicial system determines that they are harming public order or committing slander; this has never occurred.
Foreign missionary groups operate freely and face no special restrictions. The government neither forbids missionaries from entering the country nor restricts their activities; however, missionary groups occasionally face complicated bureaucratic procedures in pursuit of particular activities. For example, some Christian medical missionaries have difficulty operating in the country because of a partial restriction on foreign physicians. But the restrictions are not aimed at religious groups.
Religious instruction is not offered in public schools; it is limited to private schools and to the home. Muslim, Catholic and Protestant groups operate primary and secondary schools. The government monitors both the nonreligious curriculum and the qualifications of teachers employed at these schools. Unlike other private schools, religious schools pay no taxes if they do not conduct any lucrative activities. The government reviews the curriculum of such schools to ensure that religiously oriented schools offer the full standard academic curriculum.
Source: International Religious Freedom Report, released in 2012 by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.
New Year’s Day: Jan. 1
Women’s Day: March 8
Easter Monday: April 12
Labor Day: May 1
Independence Day: Aug. 5
Eid-ul-Fitr: follows the lunar calendar and moves ahead 11 days each year: Islamic celebration marking the end of the month of Ramadan.
Christmas: Dec. 25 - Some prepare a special Christmas Day meal of chicken or mutton, decorate their homes with Christmas trees and attend church. On Dec. 23, Pere Noel (Father Christmas) comes into town to give out presents.
Compassion has been working in Burkina Faso since 2004. These Burkina Faso facts and statistics provide a good picture of the reality of poverty and how child sponsorship through Compassion is making a difference.
Poverty is a problem in the country of Burkina Faso but with your support, Compassion is working to change this. The Burkina Faso facts tell a difficult story, but Compassion is bringing hope in the midst of the difficulties. Our programs are changing the statistics one child at a time.
Don't let the hopelessness of poverty overwhelm you. Donate to children in Burkina Faso!