Congratulations to Edmond!

As early as the 1980's, KAFO President, Dr. Jules Millogo had been using his own money to support health and education in his village. Before he even graduated medical school, he was working to lift his family out of poverty and advance his brothers' education. Over the last 4 decades, promising students were selected to have their education financed by Dr. Millogo. Edmond, a helpful and humble young man, is one of the students who advanced his education with the help of his uncle. Feeling privileged to receive his uncle's support, he worked hard to advance himself to where he is today.

When I visited Burkina Faso, I watched as Edmond catered to the needs of the children around him, and as he worked diligently to complete his list of responsibilities. I watched him round up some of the students in the dormitory, and together we walked a mile or so to the children’s school. I sat with Larissa, Agnès, and Marie in the sun while he discussed school supplies with the school director. When he came back outside, he proclaimed in English “Okay, we have what we need.”

Edmond was the oldest student living in the dorm at the time. Being the oldest, he was assigned many tasks throughout the week to help transition the kids back into the new school year as smoothly as possible. Together we visited a tailor, who mended the kids well worn uniforms. We shopped for groceries, which is quite the ordeal when you are feeding 14 people and there are no supermarkets nearby. We even led a group of 6 students back to Konkourona by bus to visit their families and offer our help in the village. Edmond graciously translated for me, both from French and Djoula (the language spoken in many cities in Burkina Faso) to English. We worked side by side on his dad's farmland to pick vegetables for dinner. I discussed the importance of education with him, and his plans for the future. Today, I wanted to talk to him again, this time as a new high school graduate.

(Victorien, Edmond, and Daniel pose together in Konkourona)

Erica: Hi Edmond, congratulations on graduating high school and completing your baccalaureate! We are all very proud of you!

Edmond: Yes thank you very much!

Erica: You have continued to study and excel amid a particularly difficult time, the coronavirus pandemic. What was it like when schools first closed as the disease spread?

Edmond: Ah really it was not at all easy! So, priority was given to the students in the exam classes [students studying for compulsory exams to advance to the next grade]. All other intermediate classes remained practically closed for the rest of the school year! The Ministry of Education decided to prioritize our cumulative final exam. To graduate we were evaluated only on the end of year exam!

Erica: Do you mean your entire grade was based on one final exam?

Edmond: Exactly it is like that! The final exam has not changed! It assesses your knowledge of accounting, financial mathematics, general economics, general mathematics, English, history, geography, business organization, philosophy, and law! But the date had to be pushed back.

Erica: That sounds like a heavy exam! As a student you lived in the dormitory in Bobo-Dioulasso. What was it like continuing classes from home, with the other students around?

Edmond: During the school year I slept in the dormitory at Uncle Jacob’s. Regarding taking lessons, we were working online during the lockdown! After the lifting of the confinement we resumed normal courses. Currently I sleep at my older brother Félix's house! He graduated in 2017 with his baccalaureate. He is now in his third year studying pharmacy. [Felix also received Dr. Millogo's support.]