A second chance school for out-of-school girls in Burkina Faso

Photo credit: Aide et Action

In Burkina Faso, many girls who have dropped out of school or are not in school are forced to do domestic chores or work. Aide et Action, in partnership with the L'Occitane Foundation, offers them, through the SCOLFILLE project, an accelerated upgrading and reintegration into the mainstream education system.

His parents' lack of means to pay for school is the reason for thes schooling was interrupted by the death of Suzanne Kalai. Born in the village of Bozo in the Centre-West region of Burkina Faso, she was enrolled in the public primary school, which she attended until the second grade. "I had to leave school because my father told me he couldn't afford the fees," says Suzanne. Once her schooling was interrupted, Suzanne helped her mother with the household chores. "When I left school, I helped my mother wash the plates, fetch water from the well, wash the clothes and cook," she says. Her mother immigrated to Ghana with Suzanne in search of income-generating opportunities. She became involved in the restaurant business. "I went to Ghana in 2021 with my mother to help her sell food. I came back at the end of 2021 when the SCOLFILLE centre was opening," she says. Her father was sensitised and decided to enrol Suzanne in the centre. "It was my father who told me to come to the centre because we don't pay fees. I'm happy to go back to school. At the last composition, I came third in my class. I want to be a teacher to help the children at school," adds Suzanne.

Without school, almost no chance of getting out of poverty

Like Suzanne, many of the girls in the Burkina Faso do not go to school, mainly because of the poverty, early marriage and gender discrimination. Without school, they have almost no chance of escaping poverty. Once out of school, they are often used as family helpers for domestic work or forced labour. They then enter the vicious circle of poverty, with no way out.

The SCOLFILLE project (Support for the Schooling of Girls) Aide et Action is active in two provinces of Burkina Faso (Ziro and Sissili). Thanks to an accelerated program delivered in bridging classes, the participants catch up and then join the regular school system to continue their studies. Learning focuses on core subjects (reading and arithmetic), as well as on confidence-building skills. School fees are covered and support for meals is provided. At the same time, awareness-raising activities are carried out with parents and community leaders. Little by little, thanks to the increasingly active participation of the communities, the socio-cultural perception of girls' education is improving.

The SCOLFILLE project is an integral part of the movement Education For Women Now initiated by Aide et Action, whose goal is to enable 3 million girls and women, among the most vulnerable and marginalized, to finally have access to quality education in Africa, Asia and Europe by 2025.

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