A quick Google search reveals that Burkina Faso is home to 21 million people, yet many are unaware that it’s also home to over 3 million child brides. Shockingly, a UNICEF study found that 1 in 2 young women (under 18) are married in childhood.


Claudia Sawadogo, Christ-Centered Education Officer in Burkina Faso, shares the cultural context behind these troubling statistics, as well as her hope for the future, “In our culture, most parents assume their daughter’s time would be better spent at home, learning family duties. They often resist investing in schooling and instead encourage the young girls to remain at home rather than go to school… Yet today, we see women doctors, presidents, and leaders around the world. We have seen what happens when you allow young women to aspire to become all they can be.” 


A Clear Vision


Driven by this vision, the Edify team in Burkina Faso is committed to opening doors for young women to dream big through Christ-centered education. Over the past two years, they’ve collaborated with dedicated educators at Lyćee Pierre Dupre, offering a glimpse of what’s possible.


The teachers at Lyćee Pierre Dupre strive to “discover precisely what God deposited in each young student,” as Claudia describes. Mr. Ali Compaoré, the school owner, is a devout servant of God who supports students in every aspect of their lives. When asked about his motivation, Ali shares, “I witnessed too many girls dropping out of school and recognized the need for girls’ education for a confident future… With belief, everything is possible.”


One Girl’s Dream


Sawadogo Rafaa, one of the many young women attending Lycée Pierre Dupre, is a living testimony of the transformation. Growing up as a young woman in Burkina Faso, she often sees women dropping out of school to raise families. However, when she began attending Lycée Pierre Dupre, she was encouraged to dream, study hard, and do her best. It felt like the doors of education and opportunity opened up for her. 


“I used to think my questions in school were irrelevant, and I was afraid to speak up. But my teachers now tell me that there is no such thing as a wrong question. They push me beyond my ability and are always happy to teach and be with us. We can feel this from the way they do their jobs,” Rafaa shared. 


Dreams Unlocked


Attending an Edify partner school did more than educate Rafaa: it opened the door to faith in Jesus. Growing up in a Muslim family, Rafaa had never read the Bible, yet shortly after enrolling, she received her very first New Testament Bible. What began as disinterest grew to curiosity as she heard her teachers explain the heart of Jesus during class and how much God loved her. She remembered Ali coming to class and encouraging her and her classmates with the truth of God’s sacrifice for us through Jesus.


Rafaa shares about when she made the decision to follow Jesus, “I began to think about if I ever had a child one day; I couldn’t imagine sacrificing them as God did with His Son. This is just the ultimate sacrifice. It is something big, and it shows God’s love. Then I thought to myself, ‘no one will ever truly love me more than Him,’ so I have decided to love Him also.” 


That day, Rafaa crossed the threshold of faith, embarking on a lifelong journey of dreaming big with Jesus. Through education and Christ-centered teaching, young women across Burkina Faso are discovering new opportunities. As they step forward, may God grant them the confidence to pursue their dreams and the assurance that Jesus walks beside them every step of the way.