BURKINA FASO: CHILDREN OF CHRISTIAN MARTYRS AND PASTORS STRUGGLE TO ENROLL IN SCHOOL
Schools reopened October 1 in Burkina Faso after being closed due to the Coronavirus. But 440 children of evangelical Christian martyrs and pastors are struggling to enroll.
The children, displaced due to terrorist violence and persecution in the northern part of Burkina Faso in 2019 and 2020, lack funds for school fees, supplies, and transportation. This month Voice of the Martyrs Korea sent funds to cover the costs of approximately 100 of those children. According to ministry representative Dr. Hyun Sook Foley, the ministry aims to do more.
“Burkina Faso is a war zone for the Christian minority,” says Representative Foley. “Many of them have been forced to flee from their homes. VOM Korea, in cooperation with other VOM missions, has already provided food and hygiene products for more than 8,000 Christians. Now, the government of Burkina Faso has lifted most of the Coronavirus bans, so life is beginning to return to normal for most of the citizens. But the Christians cannot return home because the terrorist attacks against them are continuing. So while most of the children of Burkina Faso have returned to school, many Christian children remain locked out. They can’t pay the school fees. They lack school supplies. And they can’t get to and from school because they are living in whatever safe place that other local Christians can find for them.”
Ezekiel and Naomi, two of the children of the martyred Pastor Elie and now widowed Madeleine.
Among those Voice of the Martyrs Korea is helping are the four children of martyred Pastor Elie. “Pastor Elie and his family fled to Arbina when the attacks began, but later Pastor Elie returned home along with his 10-year old son to try to get some items from the family’s home,” says Representative Foley. “When they approached their home, they were surrounded by 40 terrorists. Pastor Elie forced his son to leave immediately, saying, ‘Go away and remember that I am going to meet Jesus now.’ First, they stabbed the pastor, but when they saw that he was still alive, they shot him dead. The son witnessed his father’s death and told the story to the mother. She is now a widow with six children, four of whom still need to complete their education. They are Ezekiel, Naomi, Wenkume, and Samuel. They are among the ones Voice of the Martyrs has committed to help.”
Representative Foley says that Christians in Burkina Faso were already facing deep difficulties before the Coronavirus arrived. “Ongoing attacks by Islamic militants has created a serious crisis. Overall, in this nation of 20 million, only 3 percent are Protestant Christians, and they have been overwhelmed by the attacks. Local churches who haven’t yet been affected by the violence are providing all the help they can, but they are at the limit of what they can do. That is why Voice of the Martyrs Korea and our Voice of the Martyrs sister missions have committed to covering the schooling and transportation costs of the 440 children of martyrs and displaced pastors.”
Wenkume and Samuel, two of the children of the martyred Pastor Elie and now widowed Madeleine.
Individuals interested in helping with the project can visit www.vomkorea.com/en/donation or give via electronic transfer to Voice of the Martyrs Korea’s Families of Martyrs and Prisoners fund. All gifts to the fund through November 15 will be used for the Burkina Faso project. Any funds raised beyond what is needed or received after that date will be used to aid other families of martyrs and prisoners.
국민은행 (KB Bank) 463501-01-243303
예금주 (Account Holder): (사)순교자의소리
Please include the phrase “FOM/FOP” on the donation.