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AMPO Newsletter Spring 2020

Dear friends of our orphan children,

That has been more or less the opening of my quarterly newsletter to you, our friends, donors and sponsors for the past decades. And it’s going to stay that way.

You have been faithful to us and I will be faithful to you. Since I can no longer be in Burkina Faso as often as I was in the past, I’ll let the Directors responsible for the facilities address you themselves. All of them are doing a wonderful job with the women and children. I trust you and your loved ones are doing well and hope you can derive some benefit from these changing times.

My motto is:

“Look back with gratitude, look forward with faith, go forward with courage!”

It helps, it really does.

When I was at AMPO in February, the crisis hadn’t hit yet and we had a wonderful week of celebrations to mark our 25th anniversary, all of us together with vim and vigour. In the meantime the borders and the airport have closed down. Apart from corona, we also have to deal with the terrorists who are still destroying villages in the north on a killing spree. This peaceful country that I love so much is now torn by crisis. The ailing healthcare system and the lack of social assistance lead us to fear that there will soon be plundering. And yet, the children phone me every day and sing to cheer me up. I have little to fear as far as they are concerned, they are all well-nourished, do their sports and are under constant medical supervision. All the educators are still at work and they even take it in shifts to work round the clock. But its the staff, and of course my husband and family I’m worried about. On the other hand, I’ve already gone through various epidemics in Africa, cholera for instance and a meningitis epidemic a few years ago with more than 2,000 fatalities. There were hundreds of people lying on the ground in front of the hospital, because the beds had long since been occupied. I remember the nights I spent over several weeks, stepping over bodies to reach those who were still alive, with medication in my pocket that was too expensive and hard to come by.

That too came to an end, like everything else, which is why my motto is: Go forward with courage!

I wish you all the very best.

With warmest greetings,

Katrin Rohde

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“Go forward with courage”

I’d like to pick up on that motto from Katrin and take the opportunity to introduce myself to those of you who don’t know me. My name is Ute Krüger and I have been supporting AMPO for about 8 years now. During several private trips to Burkina Faso I learned to appreciate the structured, professional work being done there. In 2014 I was elected by the members to chair the board of the Freunde für AMPO e.V. charity and enjoyed the wonderful support of the members and other colleagues on the board. I am all the more gratified that the members and donors of Freunde für AMPO endorse this major step forward, that is of merging two charities. I am confident that the team spirit will continue and I am looking forward with pleasure to getting to know many new people as a result of this merger. We are now spread across Germany and this opens up many new possibilities to spread the word about the AMPO facilities.

Let’s do this together!

The two charities will blend into AMPO International, creating something special and new. Find out more by visiting our new website:

www.ampo-intl.org

There are sure to be challenges during the period of transition, but with patience and with our eyes fixed on our goal of cutting costs and working more effectively we will succeed. The major cost factors are postage, paper and printing. With your cooperation this is where we would like to start. Please let us have your email address if available. Taking into account the current data protection regulations, we would like to inform you about latest developments in future by environmentally compatible means i.e. electronically. In the weeks ahead you will hear or read from us more often, because such changes involve a certain amount of bureaucracy at the beginning. Those of you who are members will receive new membership application forms giving you the possibility to pay by direct debit. You will find a form on our new website which you can complete easily online and forward to us by email. We also have a new bank account to receive donations. We are attaching our new flyer to this newsletter and we hope you like it as much as we do. Let us know if you want to receive further copies.

Please continue to support AMPO and the people in Burkina Faso. They need our help more than ever in these difficult times. And PLEASE look after yourselves and stay healthy!

Yours,

Ute Krüger

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Latest developments in the projects

General Director of AMPO, Dénis Yameogo, reports:

The official announcement came on 9th March:

A pastor and his wife who had taken part in a Christian event in Mulhouse in France became infected. Sadly the couple brought the virus to Burkina Faso and since then the number of people infected has increased. The Government decided to close down kindergardens, schools and universities as from 16th March. A curfew was imposed from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. Gatherings of more than 50 people were prohibited and markets were shut down from 25th March. AMPO is dealing with this situation and the team of Directors has re-organised the projects to comply with the Government’s measures while continuing to secure the project activities:

- In all AMPO facilities individual and collective protection measures such as hand-washing, and disinfection before accessing the premises have been put in place, face masks are mandatory and handshakes are prohibited.

- The children in the orphanages attend meetings informing them about new patterns of behaviour to cope with the pandemic. To keep the children occupied sport activities and home-teaching are on offer as well as help with homework.

- Hundreds of people were gathering outside our Clinic and we had to stop working because we were unable to comply with the required social distancing standard. The staff was assigned to the specialist units so that the work there was able to continue at least. We procured protective masks and disinfectant gel for the staff.

Our indomitable cooks from the isolated facilities stormed the markets the last day they opened to stock up on provisions. Of course we have to take this pandemic very seriously but without becoming psychotic. Sometimes fear and panic do more harm than the evil itself. We still hope that together, with God’s help, we will overcome this disease as we have we have overcome all the other epidemics in the past.

Yours,

Dénis Yameogo

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Dear friends of AMPO,

Welcome to the first newsletter bearing the new AMPO International Logo!
At the beginning of the year the two charities Freunde für AMPO e.V. (in Berlin) and Sahel e.V. (in Plön/Hamburg) merged and we are now working together as AMPO International. The name of the charity is also intended as an expression of our link to other AMPO-related associations in Europe and in the USA. Indeed the world has become too small for different charities working in parallel for the same goal. Now we can work together more effectively and more specifically to support the AMPO projects in Burkina Faso. The management team comprises the Board with Magrit Ketelsen, Dr. Dethardt Götze and yours truly, together with the new Managing Director Ute Krüger (previously chair of the board of  “Freunde für AMPO e.V.”). Ute works full-time (and more) for the charity and is in charge of day-to-day work processes and communication in particular to AMPO in Burkina Faso. For many friends and members in Berlin and Hessen Ute has always been the first point of contact and other members may have met her at the Sahel AGM in Hamburg last year. AMPO has a new office in Blücherstraße 41 in Berlin-Kreuzberg, close to the previuos office and Ute would welcome your visit – once she’s settled in.

Elke Lottmann is now in charge of the office in Plön and Sofie Hoydem in Berlin now looks after social media and PR. The entire team is working well in a spirit of harmony and with a sense of common purpose. Sadly Ricarda Walzel left us after many years at the end of March to strike out in a new direction. She was instrumental in shaping Sahel over the past few years and we are extremely grateful for her commitment, wishing her all the best for the future.
On 24th October 2020 we hope to see as many members as possible at the first AMPO International AGM, an opportunity to get to know each other. AMPO celebrates its 25th anniversary this year and we had planned a major event to mark the occasion at the Fabrik in Hamburg which we have had to postpone.

Please save the date for next year. We will celebrate AMPO 25 + 1 on 6th June 2021 and I’m certain it will be an even better party!

As I write this letter we are living in very difficult times and everyone is affected no matter where in the world. Many have been dealt a harsh blow by fate. At this time it is all the more important not to forget the weakest, either at home or in Africa where there is no comparable infrastructure or care system. At the moment Burkina Faso has to bear two burdens: the influx of refugees fleeing terrorist attacks inside the country and now COVID-19 on top. And so my urgent appeal to you is to protect yourselves from the virus as far as possible. Stay healthy, because only if we are strong can we help others effectively. And please think of AMPO. Many fundraising events have had to be cancelled and it is more important than ever for us to exploit every possibility to raise money. The children, the women, the sick and the needy in Ouagadougou thank you from the bottom of their hearts – me too!

Go well and stay healthy,

Yours,
Andrew Sharp
Chairman of the Board

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