Burkina Faso

Refurbishments help children back to school after Burkina floods

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7 January 2010: School children in Burkina Faso were given a belated Christmas present by Plan this week when they returned to find their classrooms had been refurbished.

Many schools in the capital Ougadougou had been left in a poor condition after being used as temporary shelters for flood victims. Over 150,000 people were left homeless by the devastating floods that hit the country in September and were housed by the government in local schools.

This left the schools dirty and damaged and children had to learn in badly conditioned classrooms.

Severely damaged

Plan Burkina took time over the Christmas break to rehabilitate the schools, providing new equipment and cleaning and repainting them for a fresh start to the New Year. Kilwin School in the suburbs of Ougadougou had been severely damaged while it was being used as a shelter.

"We could not recognise our school, it was very dirty. In addition, it was stinking," said 12-year-old Biba.

The children were visibly delighted to see the new changes that had been made when they returned to school on Tuesday.

New and beautiful

"Everything is new again," said 11-year-old Daoudou. "The ceiling, the windows, the walls, the blackboard and our benches are now new and beautiful."

As the bell rung one female teacher stood in front of the classroom clapping for her students to line up; they hurriedly did so and walked faster than usual into the classrooms to admire their school.

It was a far cry from the scene in September when over 10 inches of rain fell on Ouagadougou, the most in any 12-hour period since 1953.

The floods affected over 700,000 people and Plan launched an emergency appeal, providing shelter, food supplies and water and sanitation facilities to those affected.

Plan continues to work in the country to support communites who are rebuiliding their homes and their lives after the floods.